Lee Strasberg Documentary ("Reputation")
Documentary about Lee Strasberg and the Actor's Studio. Includes interviews with many former students and clips from workshops at the studio. (thanks Nush for sending me a copy of this hard-to-find video!)
CAST / CREW
Pictures of Al at the Lee Strasberg Tribute
(thanks Lisa Wollney for this info)
http://www5.playbill.com/playbill/news_pics/ne_108461.gif (Celeste Holm and Al Pacino listen to speeches given in honor of acting guru Lee Strasberg at the Feb. 11 Actor's Studio gala at the Minskoff Theatre.)
At the gala, the creation of the Lee Strasberg Artistic Award was announced. The prize will be given annually "to an outstanding colleague in the entertainment community." The first winner of the new prize will be named April 29.
The festivities continued Feb. 12 with the renaming of 15th Street. The street has been renamed Lee Strasberg Way.
http://www5.playbill.com/playbill/news_pics/ne_108462.gif (Ellen Burstyn and Al Pacino, perhaps the most famous graduate of the Actors' Sutdio, spoke in honor of Lee Strasberg at the Feb. 11 gala at the Minskoff Theatre. At the gala, the creation of the Lee Strasberg Artistic Award was announced. The prize will be given annually "to an outstanding colleague in the entertainment community." The first winner of the new prize will be named April 29.)
The festivities continued Feb. 12 with the renaming of 15th Street. The street has been renamed Lee Strasberg Way.
FEATURE-Hollywood remembers great teacher Lee Strasberg, Reuters/Variety REUTERS, By Dan Cox
(thanks Lisa Wollney for this info)
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - With disciples like Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, James Dean and Marilyn Monroe, Lee Strasberg is often remembered as acting's greatest teacher.
But to millions of film fans, he's better known for turning in a classic -- some say perfect -- performance in his first movie when he was in his seventies as the soft-spoken Jewish gangster Hyman Roth in Godfather Part II.
And so when students, friends and family decided earlier this month to celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth, what better way to do it than show the film and analyze it afterward.
``I think his whole life was about searching and learning,'' said his wife, Anna Strasberg. ``When he did the Godfather he learned. It opened up a whole new life for him.''
Twenty years after his death, Strasberg is being celebrated big-time in Los Angeles on the 100th anniversary of his birth Nov. 17, 1901, with a revival of the play ``Names'' in which he is a major character, the unveiling of a new statue at the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute, a new centennial stamp issued by the Inter-Governmental Philatelic Commission commemorating the teacher, and a star-studded tribute.
Actors Martin Landau, Sally Kirkland, Renee Taylor as well as Strasberg's wife and son David Lee Strasberg were at the tribute Dec. 5 at the American Cinematheque at the Egyptian theater.
Godfather II was screened and the actors explained why the often difficult Strasberg and his legendary Actor's Studio were so well regarded. "Lee didn't teach you to act,'' said Kirkland. ``It was a learning out process. ... You need a truth. He was as passionate about acting as any great saint is about God.''
COULD FOCUS ON A PROBLEM
``I became a very strong actor because of Lee,'' remembered Landau, an Oscar winner. ``He was a joy to be around. He could really focus on a problem.''
In the play ``Names,'' Strasberg appears as some found him to be in real life -- ``a cantankerous old acting teacher,'' as one actor said, who in between dispensing advice to nascent stars turns his back on director Elia Kazan for naming names before the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950s.
Strasberg was heavily affected by the communist hunt. His first wife Paula was blacklisted after attending several communist functions and he never did reconcile with Kazan, who has been plagued by his Congressional ``naming names'' testimony ever since.
Strasberg founded the famed, politically charged Group Theater in the 1930s and he also taught a refined version of Russian teacher Konstantin Stanislavsky's ``Method'' acting, in which the actor doesn't simply play the role but becomes the role.
Early in their careers, Strasberg taught a laundry list of stars at the Actor's Studio such as Anne Bancroft, Montgomery Clift, Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson, Dustin Hoffman, Jane Fonda, Julie Harris, Sally Field and Eve Marie Saint, Martin Sheen, Michael Learned, Lesley Ann Warren and Joe Bologna.
``He used to train the actors for their screen tests,'' Anna Strasberg said. ``He used to say to them, 'Speak normally. Speak like a person.'''
Renee Taylor remembered how thoughtful Strasberg could be in his demanding auditions for the Studio.
``I auditioned for him eight times for the Studio,'' she said. ``'You still haven't mastered the first step,' he told me, talking and walking like a person. To this day, when I go onstage, I can still hear his voice.''
BE NICE TO STEVE MCQUEEN
Landau recalled how he joined Strasberg's memorable training ground, the Actor's Studio, the same day as Steve McQueen. ``We were the only two they chose that day,'' he said. ''Lee was very kind to Steve and he beat me up terribly.''
Kirkland detailed Strasberg's teaching method when Kim Stanley was appearing on Broadway in the play ``Three Sisters.''
Strasberg provided Stanley with a small tree branch to vent her feelings onstage. Stanley played the entire play clutching the branch behind her back and won raves.
Kirkland also noted Al Pacino's utter devotion to Strasberg. ``Al learned everything from Lee,'' Kirkland said. ''Less is more.''
Strasberg came out of retirement from teaching to appear in Godfather II.' According to Landau, he only made the leap because Pacino specifically asked him to do the role.
Strasberg was reluctant to take on The Godfather, especially after hearing that the role had been turned down by Kazan. When Paramount Pictures and director Francis Ford Coppola considered Strasberg, however, they told him he'd have to do a screen test.
``No, a screen test is out of the question,'' Kirkland quoted him as saying. ``Me screen test after Kazan turned it down?''
Kirkland said Strasberg proceeded to ignore Coppola in favor of a talk with Coppola's father Carmine, who was scoring the music for the picture. After 45 minutes with Carmine, Strasberg turned to Francis and said, ``I'll do the film.''
After the Godfather II performance, Strasberg became a nominee for the Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer, an award that Strasberg thought was ludicrous.
``He was nominated,'' said Anna Strasberg. ``They asked him if he was planning on going to the show and he said no. So he didn't get it.''
Al in the documentary.
Al Pacino Happily Recalls His Coach, STEPHEN M. SILVERMAN and NATASHA STOYNOFFFresh air for the armpits, Date: 23/06/2000
The New York theater community gathered at Broadway's Minskoff Theater Monday night to celebrate the what would have been the 100th birthday of legendary acting coach Lee Strasberg, the man still credited with teaching Marilyn Monroe to take herself seriously. PEOPLE reports that those attending the celebration included Joe Bologna and wife Renee Taylor, Kathie Lee Gifford and hubby Frank Gifford, "Amadeus" Best Actor winner F.Murray Abraham, Marlo Thomas, Celeste Holm, Ellen Burstyn and Al Pacino, as well as Strasberg's widow, Anna Strasberg. As part of the remembrance,a movie clip was shown of Strasberg playing Mafia kingpin Hyman Roth to Pacino's Michael Corleone in the 1974 classic Godfather Part II. (Strasberg was also Pacino's acting coach.) That was followed with video clips of Whoopi Goldberg, Sophia Loren, Alec Baldwin and Paul Newman each paying tribute to Strasberg. There was also a vintage clip of Newman and Rod Steiger singing "Happy Birthday" to their mentor when he was still alive. (Strasberg died in 1982.)
Pacino told PEOPLE, "It's very rewarding that someone like Lee is remembered so vividly after 20 years ofhis passing . . . I've done several occasions where I've spoken about Lee,and I never get it right. By the time I find just the right touch, it's too late. I always try to convey his humor that he had." Pacino recalled one particular incident involving Strasberg at his summer home on New York's Fire Island. "And he'd just stand by the water and watch, observe," said Pacino, 61. "One day, he was watching while everybody was in the water and everyone was jumping up and down having a great time. They called out to Lee, 'C'mon! Join us!' And Lee just looked at them and said, 'I don't want to get involved.' "
(thanks Pat for posting this on the APML)
Acting, said Marlon Brando in a moment of self-denial, is an empty and useless profession. But Al Pacino, Harvey Keitel and Ellen Burstyn - who have just taken over the leadership of the Actor's Studio, home of "the method", once derided as "armpit acting" - might beg to differ.
The 53-year-old New York school, founded by the late Lee Strasberg, was based on the principles of Constantin Stanislavsky, who preached assimilation of character through mental exercises rather than the conventions of the 19th century. Brando was its best-known student, but others associated with the school and its attachment to realism include Paul Newman, James Dean, Montgomery Clift, Anthony Quinn, Marilyn Monroe, Robert Duvall, Robert De Niro, Lee Grant and Dustin Hoffman.
Strasberg's idea was to train actors to draw on sense memory to re-create emotions. But Newman, a former president of the Studio, is equivocal about its influence and said of Strasberg: "I found everything that he was teaching fascinating, but I could never really make it work for me."
Arthur Penn, the Studio director who is leaving to produce a TV series, said: "There was a period there that the torn undershirt and Brando's mumbling became sort of fair game for making fun of the Studio."
It was conceived in 1947 by Elia Kazan, Cheryl Crawford and Robert Lewis as a place where actors could experiment, free from commercial demands.
New Presidents at Actors Studio, by Emily Farache, Jun 20, 2000, 2:00 PM PT
There is a new president in the house!
Well, not the house and there are actually three new presidents, not just one, but the news is still big.
Over at New York's famous Actor's Studio, hot shot actors Al Pacino, Ellen Burstyn and Harvey Keitel (already members of its board), were recently named co-presidents of the studio. They will replace Arthur Penn, who is leaving to serve as executive producer of the television series Law and Order, but who plans to continue to serve as president emeritus.
Estelle Parsons says she plans to stay on as artistic director. She said that the studio's new leaders were intent on making sure that the younger generation of artists could experience what she called "looking at work as art form."
The Actor's Studio is free of commercial pressures and emphasizes the acting process over the final product. "We want to work toward making it that kind of place again," Ms. Parsons told the New York Times, "a place of refuge from the commercial world."
Pacino and friends are volunteering their time in the unpaid positions.
The studio was founded in 1947 by Elia Kazan, Cheryl Crawford and Robert Lewis. Known for teaching the Lee Strasberg method of acting that focuses on sensory recall, the studio continues to offer its 900 members a place to develop their work.
Tennessee Williams's Camino Real, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and Twigs are some productions born from the studio.
Next season, the Actors Studio plans a reading series of the plays that have been developed at the studio throughout its history.
Parsons said the studio's production of Oedipus, which she directed, will be produced off Broadway in the fall with Pacino and Dianne Wiest in the starring roles.
Strasberg at the Actor's Studio.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) Monday November 6 12:06 PM ET, FEATURE
-''Method'' guru celebrated in year of new plays , By Jill Serjeant
- It is not very often in hard-nosed Hollywood that you hear directors talking gleefully about how much money they are not going to make.
Yet that is just what is energizing the family of the late Lee Strasberg as they launch a year of celebrations marking the birth centennial of the legendary teacher of ``The Method,'' the man behind some leading American stage and screen actors.
Strasberg, co-founder of the Group Theater and artistic director of the Actor's Studio, was born in November 1901 and died in 1982 after nurturing the careers of, among others, Marilyn Monroe, Marlon Brando, James Dean, Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino, Anne Bancroft, Robert De Niro and Paul Newman.
His legacy is being marked not by a series of star-studded benefits and glittering parties but by a season of new plays by young and emerging artists staged in a simple brick-walled 96-seat theater.
``Nothing was chosen for the reason that it would be a sure-fire commercial hit. The plays were chosen for their powers of exploration: young playwrights finding their words,'' said Strasberg's widow, Anna, the artistic director of the Los Angeles-based Lee Strasberg Creative Center.
``I'd rather have a noble failure than a commercial success,'' she added. ``I'd rather someone say the play had courage. You hope it will find its voice and its audience.''
The three new plays and three workshops will be performed by a new in-house production company called The Group at Strasberg, which is dedicated to discovering and promoting new contemporary voices.
Theater Named Marilyn Monroe
In more than a nod to the illustrious Strasberg past, the plays will be staged in the newly renovated Marilyn Monroe Theater in West Hollywood, named after Strasberg's most enigmatic pupil.
Although he started his career in the theater, it was the movies that made Strasberg with his emotion-oriented, natural acting technique the most sought-after teacher in Hollywood.
``Lee was the daddy of film acting. He loved movies. He thought it was the greatest invention of the 20th century,'' Anna Strasberg said. ``Lee started training actors for their film tests and teaching them to be less mannered and more human, to be real, to speak in a normal tone of voice.''
The list of actors who passed through Strasberg's acting classes reads like a Who's Who of the 20th century filmmaking. But it all started in the theater with exercises developed by Strasberg and now perpetuated in his books and videos, to be discovered anew by the budding stars of tomorrow.
Al Pacino still returns to the modest building that houses the Creative Center to lecture to acting students. Angelina Jolie, who won a best supporting actress Oscar this year for ''Girl, Interrupted,'' studied there before breaking into movies.
The legacy is continued by Anna Strasberg and her son David Lee Strasberg, 27, who, after starting his career in business and politics, came full circle last year to become chief executive officer of the Lee Strasberg Actor's Studio.
David Strasberg spent his youth hanging lights, building sets and listening to directors, actors and writers discussing their passion for the theater before realizing it was a passion he shared.
``This is where I grew up,'' he said, ``and to be able to come back to it and continue what my father did in a way that is fulfilling to me -- you don't get any better than that.''
Film Stars To Lead Actor's Studio (6-20-00) Excite News (great picture here)
Al Pacino is shown in Los Angeles in this June 10, 1999 file photo. Pacino, Ellen Burstyn and Harvey Keitel have been chosen to lead the legendary Actor's Studio. The three, all members of the theater's board, will replace Arthur Penn, who is leaving to become executive producer of the television series "Law and Order." Penn will continue as president emeritus of the workshop. Photo by Kevork Djansezian, File (AP)
Film Stars To Lead Actor's Studio
Updated 2:50 PM ET June 20, 2000 NEW YORK (AP) - Al Pacino, Ellen Burstyn and Harvey Keitel have been chosen to lead the legendary Actor's Studio. The three, all members of the theater's board, will replace Arthur Penn, who is leaving to become executive producer of the television series "Law and Order." Penn will continue as president emeritus of the workshop.
The workshop was founded in 1947 by actors Robert Lewis and Cheryl Crawford and by director Elia Kazan, whose lifetime achievement Oscar last year polarized public opinion over his role as an alleged finger-pointer during the McCarthy era.
Kazan was a proponent of the Stanislavski "system" of acting, later refined into the "Method" by Lee Strasberg, artistic director of the Studio from 1948 until his death in 1982.
Alumni include Marlon Brando, Paul Newman, Marilyn Monroe, Alec Baldwin and Jack Nicholson.
The Studio has about 900 members in New York and Los Angeles, including actors, playwrights and directors.'
Strasberg and Al in Godfather II
The New York acting community is in quite a tizzy over the shakeup at the Actor's Studio. Arthur Penn has resigned, and there is a troika running things -- Ellen Burstyn, Harvey Keitel and Al Pacino. The story gets a bit murky, however, with rumors of slush- fund monies, harassed Actor's Studio members and even a body found buried behind the building! Maybe this is something Dominick Dunne could sink his teeth into!
Page Six, New York Post, Sept 25
(thanks Judith for this info)
THE Actors Studio - now under the control of Al Pacino, Harvey Keitel and Ellen Burstyn - is making enemies by evicting some of its elderly members.
The prestigious school founded by the late Lee Strasberg - who taught "method acting" to Marilyn Monroe, Marlon Brando, Paul Newman and dozens of other stars - is evidently trying to attract younger, up-and-coming thespians.
The new management claims the school's open enrollment policy hasn't changed. But insiders say elderly kibitzers - who audit classes and participate in scenes - have been asked to leave.
One appalled eyewitness saw actor Ray Trail, 87, who sat in on seminars for a number of years, being told not to return. Other older actors like Greta Tyson were also told to skidaddle.
"They have no respect for people who've paid their dues," fumed our source. "They said they were only looking for up-and-coming types."
"It sounds like it smacks of age discrimation at its worst," says AARP spokesman Tom Otwell. "I don't think it's tolerable in any aspect of life."
The regime change occurred in June when Estelle Parsons, 75, who won an Academy Award for "Bonnie and Clyde," stepped aside as artistic director after five years.
While the Manhattan institution looks for a new artistic director, it is being run by Pacino, Keitel and Burstyn, who share the title of president though they are known on campus as "The Troika."
"We have all served in various capacities as president, vice president, artistic director and whatever else is needed," said Burstyn, in a statement. "We take turns according to our availability."
"They have taken over temporary control while they look for a new artistic director," theatrical flack Richard Kornberg tells PAGE SIX's Michael Rovner.
Parsons, who played Roseanne's mother on the sitcom "Roseanne," has stayed on as director of the playwrights division alongside Actors Studio members like Paul Newman, Arthur Penn and Aidan Quinn.
(104k) "I believe that acting, as we know it today in film - American acting has been influenced by Lee Strasberg. Theres no doubt about it."
(208k) He said, "You know, always have a little reserve, dont go to the top of what youve got. Stay under it. Dont hit the top. Dont hit that top note." You know? And, because theres the tendency for the actor to want to really feel that theyre fulfilling whatever it is theyre trying to fulfill if they go as far as you can go. And he always would say, "Pull it back."
(206k) (On Lees coaching style...) "Invariably, it was inspiring. He theorized about it. And you, if you got pieces of it, patches of it, one found the best way to deal with it was to sift it and take of it what you could use. And Im sure thats what Lee was putting out. He was throwing a lot of things out for you, hoping that something would stick that youd catch something. And that would be what you sort of worked off."
(121k) (On Lees role in The Godfather ..) "There is this guy who is this acting guru. Whether its been earned or not, I dont know, its just that thats his reputation. And hes asked now to act. He didnt even flinch. He said, Yeah, Ill do it."
Currently unavailable on vhs or dvd.
Actor's Studio, The Al studied here under Lee Strasberg. This site about the studio, but is not it's official page.