Lee Strasberg

Biography

Lee Strasberg (November 17, 1901 – February 17, 1982) was an Academy Award nominated American director, actor, producer, and acting teacher. He was born Israel Strassberg in Budzanów, former Austro-Hungarian Empire (now Budaniv, Ukraine), to Ida and Baruch Meyer Strassberg. In 1931, Lee Strasberg became one of the co-founders of the Group Theatre, a company which included such legends as Elia Kazan, John Garfield, Stella Adler, Sanford Meisner, Franchot Tone, and Robert Lewis. It is rarely mentioned that Strasberg left the Group Theatre in 1935 because of his controversial theories on acting, mostly challenged by Stella Adler, who later visited Russian Master Acting Trainer Konstantin Stanislavski who said he abandoned the thoughts 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 Geraldine Page, Paul Newman, Al Pacino, Kim Stanley, Marilyn Monroe, Jane Fonda, James Dean, Dustin Hoffman, Eli Wallach, Eva Marie Saint, Robert DeNiro, 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.[1] 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 is considered by many to be the patriarch of American "method" acting. He provided inspiration for generations of actors during his lifetime and a lasting legacy for generations to come. Modern theater thought, however, seems to be more captivated with simpler, less self-indulgent acting methods like those of Sanford Meisner and David Mamet. He was married to his second wife, the actress and drama coach Paula Strasberg from 1934 until her death from cancer in 1966. They were the parents of actress Susan Strasberg and acting teacher John Strasberg. Lee Strasberg's third wife was the former Anna Mizrahi, a Sephardic Jew who was born in Venezuela and the mother of his two youngest children, David and Adam. Lee Strasberg died of a heart attack in New York City at the age of 80; his eldest children and only grandchild were disinherited in the will. Strasberg is interred at Westchester Hills Cemetery in Hastings-on-Hudson, Westchester County, New York.

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Person Photo
Known For
Movie Poster

Going in Style

Willie

Movie Poster

Boardwalk

David Rosen

Movie Poster

Al Pacino, le Bronx et la fureur

Self (archive footage)

Movie Poster

Marilyn Monroe - The Mortal Goddess

Himself

Movie Poster

Skokie

Morton Weisman

Movie Poster

The Legend of Marilyn Monroe

Himself (uncredited)

Movie Poster

Jane Fonda in Five Acts

Self (archive footage) (uncredited)

Movie Poster

The Godfather Supplements

Hyman Roth (archive footage)

Movie Poster

The Cassandra Crossing

Herman Kaplan

Movie Poster

Love, Marilyn

Himself (archive footage)

Starring In
Movie Poster

Al Pacino, le Bronx et la fureur

Self (archive footage)

Movie Poster

Jane Fonda in Five Acts

Self (archive footage) (uncredited)

Movie Poster

Love, Marilyn

Himself (archive footage)

Movie Poster

The Godfather Supplements

Hyman Roth (archive footage)

Movie Poster

Marilyn Monroe - The Final Days

Himself (archive footage)

Movie Poster

Marilyn Monroe - The Mortal Goddess

Himself

Movie Poster

Skokie

Morton Weisman

Movie Poster

Boardwalk

David Rosen

Movie Poster

… And Justice For All

Sam Kirkland

Movie Poster

Going in Style

Willie

Movie Poster

The Cassandra Crossing

Herman Kaplan

Movie Poster

The Godfather: Part II

Hyman Roth

Movie Poster

The Legend of Marilyn Monroe

Himself (uncredited)

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