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Lee Strasberg & The Method

Lee Strasberg was one of the leading acting teachers in America and was particularly associated with a certain style of acting that would dominate the American stage after World War II. Strasberg was little known to most of the world except as the guru of Method Acting until he appeared in a prominent role in the film Godfather II, but many of his students were very well known to the public at large, among them John Garfield, Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Jane Fonda, Marilyn Monroe, Paul Newman, and Dustin Hoffman.

American Method Acting actually started in Russia with Konstantin Stanislavski and the Moscow Art Theater, opened in 1898. Stanislavski wrote about his approach to acting in An Actor Prepares, published in Russia in 1926 and in the United States in 1936. Some of Stanislavski's ideas made their way to America with teachers such as Richard Boleslavsky in the 1920s. Two of the American actors who learned this approach were Stella Adler and Lee Strasberg, and in 1931 both were founding members of the Group Theatre, the first ensemble troupe in America and the first theatrical organization to espouse the Stanislavski system, the Americanized version of which is known as "the Method." Under Strasberg and the first Method school for professional actors, the Actors Studio, the Method was established as the preeminent acting style for American actors.

Strasberg has written about his life, his early years in the theater, and the development of the Method. He grew up on New York's Lower East Side after the turn of the century in a world where the professional theater seemed to be something quite distant. His first encounter with the stage came when his brother-in-law, a makeup artist with a group called the Progressive Dramatic Club, recommended him for a part in a play because an adolescent was needed. The play was to be produced in Yiddish, and it was by the Austrian playwright Arthur Schnitzler. The bo...

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Lee Strasberg & The Method. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 20:23, May 24, 2020, from