Adler, Stella

Adler, Stella

(ăd`lər), 1901–92, American actress, director, and acting teacher, b. New York City. The daughter of Jacob and Sarah Adler, stars in New York's Yiddish theater, she made her acting debut in 1906 in one of her father's productions. A member of the American Laboratory Theater in the 1920s, Adler co-founded (1931) The Group TheatreGroup Theatre,
organization formed in New York City in 1931 by Harold Clurman, Cheryl Crawford, and Lee Strasberg. Its founders, who had worked earlier with the Provincetown Players, wished to revive and redefine American theater by establishing a permanent company to present
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 and was influenced by the ideas of Constantin StanislavskyStanislavsky, Constantin
, 1863–1938, Russian theatrical director, teacher, and actor, whose original name was Constantin Sergeyevich Alekseyev. He was cofounder with Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko of the Moscow Art Theater in 1898, which he would remain associated with for
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, with whom she briefly studied (1934) in the Soviet Union. Returning to The Group Theatre, she performed with the company and taught her modified version of the Stanislavsky method, which emphasized the use of imagination as the basis of acting technique. After a stint (1937–42) in Hollywood, where she acted in films and was a producer at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), she came back to New York, resumed theatrical acting and directing, taught at the New School, and later founded (1949) her own acting school. Adler, whose students included Marlon BrandoBrando, Marlon,
1924–2004, American film actor, often described as the greatest of his generation, b. Omaha, Nebr. Regarded as the foremost practitioner of "method" acting as taught by American disciples of Constantin Stanislavsky at New York's Actor's Studio (he studied
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, Robert De NiroDe Niro, Robert
, 1943–, American film actor, b. New York City. After studying for the stage, he acted in films directed by Brian De Palma. In 1973 he made his first major movies, Bang the Drum Slowly and Mean Streets.
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, Warren BeattyBeatty, Warren
(Henry Warren Beatty) , 1937–, motion picture actor, director, producer, and screenwriter, b. Richmond, Va. An eminently bankable star, the handsome, charismatic, yet oddly elusive leading man made his film debut in Splendor in the Grass (1961).
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, and many other performers, exerted a profound influence on American acting.

Bibliography

See her Technique of Acting (1988); B. Paris, ed., Stella Adler on Ibsen, Strindberg, and Chekhov (1999) and Stella Adler on America's Master Playwrights (2012); H. Kissel, ed., Stella Adler: The Art of Acting (2000); J. Rotté, Acting with Adler (2000).

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