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Friday, January 29, 2016

Who was Roy London? (Teacher of Ivana Chubbuck)

Roy London; Acting Coach, Writer, Director


Roy London, a highly respected Hollywood acting coach who made his directing debut last year with "Diary of a Hit Man," starring several of his students, has died. He was 50.
London died Sunday in his Los Angeles home of lymphoma, a complication of AIDS.
His low-budget 1992 film, which London co-wrote with Kenneth Pressman from Pressman's off-Broadway play "Insider's Price," won the Best of the Fest popularity poll when it was introduced at the Santa Barbara Film Festival.
The film starred Forest Whitaker as a hit man hired to kill the baby of Sherilyn Fenn, with Sharon Stone appearing briefly as Fenn's sister.
"Money is not why we did it," Stone said to The Times in explaining why a Hollywood star would work for scale in rural Pennsylvania in winter. "Roy London is why we did it. When you hear that he is finally going to direct a film, you crawl through broken glass to be there."
Fenn, also a London student, said: "When I was starting out, people told me that if I found one great teacher in my life, I'd be lucky. Well, I found him. He changed my career. He changed my life."
Other London students included Garry Shandling, whose TV show he had directed; Jeff Goldblum; Brad Pitt; Michelle Pfeiffer; Patrick Swayze; Faye Dunaway, and Geena Davis--who publicly thanked him when she won her Oscar as best supporting actress in "The Accidental Tourist."
Admitting that he hired a directing coach to prepare himself, London told The Times that he agreed to take on "Diary of a Hit Man" because:

"I'm always telling my students how important it is to be doing new things. I tell them that good acting is when you are hired to do something you can do well and then delivering the goods. But great acting, which is what I am interested in, is about setting things up so that you are experiencing something for the first time. I guess that's why I decided to direct."
An actor and writer before he turned to teaching, London had important roles on Broadway and off-Broadway and in England with the Royal Shakespeare Company. He was a founding member of New York's Circle Rep, which presented several plays he wrote.
His scripts included a 1981 NBC movie of the week, "California Gold Rush," and a 1988 feature film starring Swayze and Piper Laurie, "Tiger Warsaw."
London came to Los Angeles in 1975 to act in the play "The Two of Us" with Lynn Redgrave and stayed on, thinking he would become a television writer. Instead, he began to teach.
"People that I knew started asking me to help them prepare for roles," he told The Times, "and it just grew."
London is survived by his life partner, producer Tim Healey, and by his mother, Frances, and brother, Chuck, both of New York.
Memorial contributions can be made to the Roy London Creative Foundation, 1990 Westwood Blvd., Suite 200, Los Angeles, Calif. 90025.
A memorial service is planned for Thursday in Santa Barbara.

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Who was Peggy Feury?

Anjelica Huston on Peggy Feury:

Sean Penn:


Peggy Feury, who began her career as a Broadway actress and then taught acting to students who included Lily Tomlin, Sean Penn and Melissa Gilbert, died in an automobile collison in Los Angeles last Wednesday. She was 62 years old and lived in Los Angeles.
As a young actress, fresh from Barnard College, the Yale Drama School and the Neighborhood Playhouse, she became a charter member of the Actor's Studio in New York, quickly amassing stage credits. Among the shows she appeared in on Broadway were ''Enter Laughing,'' ''Turn of the Screw,'' and ''Peer Gynt.''
She also appeared in several television and film productions, including ''Crimes of Passion'' and ''The Last Tycoon.''
In 1973, she and her husband, the actor William Traylor, formed the Loft Studio. It was there, and through her work at the West Coast branch of the Actor's Studio and the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute, that Miss Feury became known as a leading acting instructor.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by two daughters, Stephanie and Susan.
A memorial mass will be held today at 8 A.M. at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills.

link: Jack Nicholson's method

Who was Jeff Corey?


Jeff Corey, Character Actor and Acting Instructor, 88, Is Dead

Jeff Corey, a character actor who was barred from his field in the 1950's because of past association with the Communist Party and then became a prominent Hollywood acting instructor, died on Friday in Los Angeles. He was 88 and lived in Malibu.
Among his acting students were a college freshman named Carol Burnett and an 18-year-old smart aleck named Jack Nicholson. Shortly before his death in 1955, James Dean studied with him.
Mr. Corey himself appeared in around 100 feature films, notably "Little Big Man" (1970), in which he played the part of Wild Bill Hickock opposite Dustin Hoffman. He was on many television shows.
With his bushy brows, craggy nose and instantly recognizable voice, he played characters ranging from heavies in postwar thrillers like "The Killers" in 1946 (an uncredited role as Blinky Franklin) to the sheriff in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" in 1969.
He was born in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn on Aug. 10, 1914. After graduating from public high school, he attended the Feagin School of Drama and participated in the Depression-era Federal Theater Project of the Works Progress Administration.
During this period, he associated with left-leaning members of the theatrical community like John Randolph, Elia Kazan and Jules Dassin. He attended some Communist Party meetings, but never joined.
He was supporting himself as a sewing-machine salesman when he got a part as a spear carrier in Leslie Howard's critically acclaimed production of "Hamlet" on Broadway and was promoted to the part of Rosencrantz.
After several minor Broadway roles he drove a Model A Ford to Hollywood. He had begun to get movie roles when World War II started, and he joined the Navy.
After the war, he was working steadily, with seven movies in 1950 alone, when he was summoned to a hearing of the House Un-American Activities Committee. He not only refused to name names but also offered an acting critique of the previous witness. He was promptly blacklisted and did not work in films or television for 12 years.
Friends advised him to start an acting class, so he converted his garage into a small stage. About 30 people showed up for the first session, each agreeing to pay $10 a month for two classes a week.
He appeared in some California theatrical productions but also worked as a laborer and used the G.I. bill to earn a degree in speech therapy from the University of California at Los Angeles.
In addition, he took his family all over the United States on camping trips.
He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Hope; his daughters, Jane, of Elk, Calif., Eve Corey Polling of Atlanta and Emily, of Los Angeles; and six grandchildren.
Though he never advertised, his school acquired cachet in Hollywood. Participants included Barbra Streisand, Anthony Perkins, Shirley Knight, Rita Moreno, Richard Chamberlain and Robin Williams.
Mr. Corey combined many approaches to acting. He did not urge students to delve deeply into their subconscious but rather to create a deeply imagined subtext for each character. He said in an interview with The Los Angeles Times in 1986 that too much concentration on inner feelings could lead to "emotional hernia."
When Kirk Douglas consulted him about playing Spartacus, Mr. Corey recalled the conversation in an interview with The Financial Times in 1995:
"He was playing the great leader with a lot of panache, and I said: `You're a slave from generations of slaves. What do you know about leading? You should be struggling to find a leader's voice and actions.' And he said, `By God, you're right.' "
Mr. Nicholson said in an interview with The New York Times Magazine in 1986 that Mr. Corey's greatest help was stimulating his mind.
"You can't change the world, but you can make the world think," Mr. Nicholson said.
The blacklist ban had eased by 1960, when he got a small role in an episode of "The Untouchables" on television. He returned to movies in 1962, getting a role in the 1963 film "The Yellow Canary" with the help of Pat Boone, one of his students.
Over the next three decades he performed in many major films, including "In Cold Blood" and "True Grit." As late as 1997 he appeared on television.
Griffin Fariello in his book "Red Scare: Memories of the American Inquisition" (Norton, 1995), recalled one of Mr. Corey's frustrations while blacklisted: his students kept telling him studios were "looking for a Jeff Corey type."
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Who was Robert "Bobby" Lewis?

1) LA Times article:

2) Robert Lewis, Influential Acting Teacher, Director

November 25, 1997|By New York Times News Service.
NEW YORK — Robert Lewis, a founder of the Actors Studio, a member of the Group Theater of the 1930s, a successful director of Broadway plays and musicals and one of the most renowned acting teachers of the century, died of a heart attack Sunday night. He was 88 and lived in Manhattan.
In his more than 60 years of teaching -- at the influential Yale School of Drama, at the Actors Studio, at the Lincoln Center Repertory Company and at his own Robert Lewis Theater Workshop -- Mr. Lewis' students included Marlon Brando, Meryl Streep, Anne Bancroft, Jerome Robbins, Montgomery Clift, Eli Wallach, Anne Jackson, Patricia Neal, Sigourney Weaver, Faye Dunaway and Frank Langella.
Mr. Lewis was a disciple of the system of acting developed earlier in the century by Konstantin Stanislavsky, the Russian actor and director, that combined an emotional truth -- a significant moment from the actor's past relived in performance -- with technique. But he always provided his students with his own personal take on Stanislavsky. He disagreed openly and strongly with the principles of another Group Theater member and highly influential Stanislavsky-based teacher, Lee Strasberg, whose system, dubbed the "Method," he felt emphasized emotion to the exclusion of technique.
Mr. Lewis wrote in his 1984 memoir, "Slings and Arrows: Theater in My Life," that the fault with Method, a misapplication of Stanislavsky in America, was a "psychological grip" that created "a sense of truth that, while being genuinely derived from the inner life experience of the actor himself, often represented his emotional reaction to a situation rather than the character's."
As an actor, Mr. Lewis was part of the famed Group Theater, whose membership also included Harold Clurman, Elia Kazan, Strasberg (its acting teacher), Stella Adler, Clifford Odets, John Garfield and Franchot Tone.
Mr. Lewis also was acclaimed as a director of hit Broadway musicals and plays such as "Brigadoon" (1947), "The Happy Time" (1950), "The Teahouse of the August Moon" (1953), "Witness for the Prosecution" (1954) and Lena Horne's "Jamaica" (1957).
In 1947, Mr. Lewis founded the Actors Studio with Kazan and Cheryl Crawford as a training ground for professional actors -- to, in Kazan's words, "get the actor out of the Walgreen's Drugstore." He taught at Yale on and off for 35 years, from 1941 to 1976.
Mr. Lewis set forth his theories on acting in a series of books that became popular and widely quoted, including "Method -- or Madness?" (1958), "Advice to the Players" (1980) and "Slings and Arrows."


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Leaves from the Autobiography of Tommaso Salvini

This is the autobiography of one of the great actors of the 19th Century. Stanislavsky referred to Salvini as one of his great inspirations, along with Duse. This book is honest and amazing, he talks about his tragic life, about giving it all to his work, which he discusses openly. He was using technique that later came to be associated with Stanislavski, but Salvini was using it in the 1850s. He was celebrated by royalty as he traveled the world. He has a sense of humour about it all and an earnestness which is infectious. Before TV and before film, there were actors who were not onlt great technicians but also international stars, and Salvini was one of them.

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