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Stella Adler

Stella Adler

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Also Known As: Stella Ardler Died: December 21, 1992
Born: February 10, 1901 Cause of Death: heart failure
Birth Place: New York, New York Profession:

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

One of America's most influential acting teachers, and one of few Americans to have studied the "Method" with its originator, Constantin Stanislavsky; Adler's former students include Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro, Warren Beatty and Harvey Keitel.Adler began her career with the theater company of her father, the legendary Yiddish actor Jacob Adler, before appearing on Broadway and later joining the Group Theater at its inception in 1931. Her most famous performance was in the Group Theater's production of Clifford Odets' "Awake and Sing" in the 1930s. By the mid-40s, after a schism with Lee Strasberg over his interpretation of the Stanislavsky method, she turned to teaching, first at the Dramatic Workshop of the New School for Social Research in New York and, in 1949, full-time at her own school.

One of America's most influential acting teachers, and one of few Americans to have studied the "Method" with its originator, Constantin Stanislavsky; Adler's former students include Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro, Warren Beatty and Harvey Keitel.

Adler began her career with the theater company of her father, the legendary Yiddish actor Jacob Adler, before appearing on Broadway and later joining the Group Theater at its inception in 1931. Her most famous performance was in the Group Theater's production of Clifford Odets' "Awake and Sing" in the 1930s. By the mid-40s, after a schism with Lee Strasberg over his interpretation of the Stanislavsky method, she turned to teaching, first at the Dramatic Workshop of the New School for Social Research in New York and, in 1949, full-time at her own school.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 My Girl Tisa (1948) Mrs. Faludi
2.
 Shadow of the Thin Man (1941) Claire Porter
3.
 Love on Toast (1937) Linda Craven
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Notes

"From the start, however, Adler was dubious about Strasberg's "Method". He placed particular emphasis on 'affective memory', that is ... insisting that the actor draw on his own psyche for emotions analogous to those of the character he was playing. As Adler would put it later (and often), she felt this led to 'hysteria' on the part of the actor. Moreover, she believed that the plunge into subjectivity could not serve, and might very often subvert, the playwright's text and intentions. Finally, it seemed to her, as it did to others (notably Bobby Lewis another Group member, and an actor-director who would also become an influential teacher), that the Method was the enemy of styles other than the realistic--not much use in Restoration comedy, for instance, or in Brecht. Or for that matter in Shakespeare." --Richard Schickel in "Brando: A Life in Our Times" (1991).

"Brando was irresistible to her, just as she was irresistible to Brando. It may be too much to suggest that their encounter was fated, but the timing certainly could not have been improved upon. For they met at the moment when their mutual needs were impeccably matched. If Brando was at the time a character in search of a defining author, Adler was an author in search of subjects, that is to say, actors who could embody her theories of performance in major roles. Since these theories had been gestating for close to a decade, there was by this time a certain urgency in her search for instruments by which she could assert herself against her enemies within the theatrical community and, perhaps, impose her beliefs on its future history." --Richard Schickel in "Brando: A Life in Our Times" (1991).

During and after WWII, Adler raised funds for the Emergency Committee to Save the Jewish People of Europe and the American League for a Free Palestine; she also assisted these causes by purchasing guns and forging passports and visas for people who wanted to immigrate to Palestine.

She was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame (1992)

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Horace Eleaschreff. Aristocrat. Divorced.
husband:
Harold Clurman. Stage producer, director, theorist, critic. Married on September 27, 1942; divorced.
husband:
Mitchell Wilson. Physicist. Died February 26, 1973.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Jacob P Adler. Actor, stage producer. Born in 1855; died in 1962; legendary Yiddish actor.
mother:
Sarah Adler. Actor, stage producer.
brother:
Jay Adler. Actor. Born on September 26, 1896; died in September 1978.
brother:
Luther Adler. Actor. Born on May 4, 1903; died in December 1984; formerly married to Sylvia Sydney.
daughter:
Ellen Adler. Artist. Father, Horace Eleaschreff.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"The Art of Acting"

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