Definitions

israel strassberg

Lee Strasberg

[strahs-berg, stras-]

Lee Strasberg (November 17, 1901February 17, 1982) was an Academy Award-nominated Austro-Hungarian-American director, actor, producer, and acting teacher.

Career

In 1931, Strasberg became one of the co-founders of the Group Theatre, a company which included such legends as Elia Kazan, Clifford Odets, John Garfield, Stella Adler, Sanford Meisner, Franchot Tone, and Robert Lewis. Strasberg left the Group Theatre in 1935 because his controversial theories on acting were challenged by Stella Adler, who in 1934 visited Russian Master Acting Trainer Konstantin Stanislavski. Adler claimed that Stanislavsky had abandoned the theories that had influenced Strasberg. In 1936, Strasberg became a naturalized citizen of the United States. In 1949, he began a lengthy career at the Actors Studio in New York City. Within two years, he was artistic director and the now-renowned institution's reputation flourished. Actors under his tutelage there included Burt Young, Geraldine Page, Paul Newman, Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, Kim Stanley, Marilyn Monroe, Jane Fonda, James Dean, Dustin Hoffman, Eli Wallach, Eva Marie Saint, Jill Clayburgh, Ellen Burstyn, Gene Wilder, Steve McQueen and Dennis Hopper.

In 1966, he established the "Actors Studio West" in Los Angeles. In 1969, he began the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York and Los Angeles.

While rarely stepping in front of the camera himself (he appeared in just seven films), he received most attention for the role of Hyman Roth in The Godfather: Part II. Roth is an elderly Jewish organized crime figure retired to Miami, having become the overlord of criminal enterprise in Cuba; in the course of the film he incurs the wrath of Michael Corleone, played by Strasberg's former student Al Pacino. Strasberg received an Academy Award nomination for this performance, losing to Robert DeNiro, another one of his former students. Strasberg also gained critical acclaims for his role as one of the three bank robbers in the film Going in Style.

Strasberg is considered by many to be the patriarch of American "method acting".

Personal life

Strasberg was born Israel Strassberg in Budzanów, former Austro-Hungarian Empire (now Budaniv, Ukraine), to Ida and Baruch Meyer Strassberg. His first marriage was to Nora Krecaun in 1926 until her death in 1929. He was married to his second wife, the actress and drama coach Paula Miller from 1934 until her death from cancer in 1966. They were the parents of acting teacher John Strasberg and the actress Susan Strasberg.

Strasberg's third wife was the former Anna Mizrahi, a Sephardic Jew (who was born either in Israel or Caracas, Venezuela) and the mother of his two youngest children, Adam Lee (born July 29, 1969) and David Lee Israel (born January 30, 1971).

Strasberg died of a heart attack in New York City at the age of 80; his eldest children and only grandchild were disinherited from his estate. He was interred at Westchester Hills Cemetery in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York.

Marilyn Monroe, a pupil of Strasberg's, left him her "personal effects and clothing", with her request that Strasberg "distribute these, in his sole discretion, among my friends, colleagues and those to whom I am devoted". The value of these items at the time of Monroe's death was $3,200. These items were never distributed by Strasberg, but were inherited by his widow and later sold at a 1999 Christie's auction for $12.3 million. Monroe also left Strasberg the bulk of her estate. Shortly after Monroe's death, it was reported that the monetary portion of Monroe's Estate bequeathed to Lee Strasberg totaled $240,000.

Work on Broadway

Note: All works are plays and the original productions unless otherwise noted.

  • Four Walls (1927) - Actor
  • The Vegetable (1929) - Director
  • Red Rust (1929) - Actor
  • Green Grow the Lilacs (1931) - Actor
  • The House of Connelly (1931) - Co-Director
  • 1931 (1931) - Director
  • Success Story (1932) - Director
  • Men in White (1933) - Director
  • Gentlewoman (1934) - Director
  • Gold Eagle Guy (1934) - Director
  • Paradise Lost (1935) - Produced by Group Theatre
  • Case of Clyde Griffiths (1936) - Director, Produced by Group Theatre
  • Johnny Johnson (1936) - Director, Produced by Group Theatre
  • Many Mansions (1937) - Director
  • Golden Boy (1937) - Produced by Group Theatre
  • Roosty (1938) - Director
  • Casey Jones (1938) - Produced by Group Theatre
  • All the Living (1938) - Director
  • Dance Night (1938) - Director
  • Rocket to the Moon (1938) - Produced by Group Theatre
  • The Gentle People (1939) - Produced by Group Theatre
  • Awake and Sing! (1939), revival - Produced by Group Theatre
  • Summer Night (1939) - Director
  • Night Music (1940) - Produced by Group Theatre
  • The Fifth Column (1940) - Director
  • Clash by Night (1941) - Director
  • A Kiss for Cinderella (1942), revival - Director
  • R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots) (1942), revival - Director
  • Apology (1943) - Producer and Director
  • South Pacific (1943, apparently no relation to the Broadway musical South Pacific) - Director
  • Skipper Next to God (1948) - Director
  • The Big Knife (1949) - Director
  • The Closing Door (1949) - Director
  • The Country Girl (1950) - Co-Producer
  • Peer Gynt (1951), (revival) - Director
  • Strange Interlude (1963), (revival) - Produced by The Actors Studio - Tony Award Co-nomination for Best Producer of a Play
  • Marathon '33 (1963) - Production supervisor
  • The Three Sisters (1964), (revival) - Director, Produced by The Actors Studio

See also

References

External links

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