Lee Strasberg (born Israel Strassberg; November 17, 1901 – February 17, 1982) was an American actor, director and acting teacher. He cofounded, with directors Harold Clurman and Cheryl Crawford, the Group Theatre in 1931, which was hailed as “America’s first true theatrical collective”. In 1951, he became director of the non-profit Actors Studio, in New York City, considered “the nation’s most prestigious acting school”. In 1969, Strasberg founded the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York City and in Hollywood to teach the work he pioneered.
He is considered the “father of method acting in America,” according to author Mel Gussow, and from the 1920s until his death in 1982 “he revolutionized the art of acting by having a profound influence on performance in American theater and movies”. From his base in New York, he trained several generations of theatre and film’s most illustrious talents, including Barbra Streisand, Anne Bancroft, Dustin Hoffman, Montgomery Clift, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Jane Fonda, Julie Harris, Paul Newman, Ellen Burstyn, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro and director Elia Kazan.
American Masters (PBS) Profile of The Actor’s Studio, New York.
The Jason Bennett Actor’s Workshop Excellent biography of Lee Strasberg’s life and career by Dan Morin.
PBS Synopsis of the PBS show The Group Theatre that explains the origins of this company, co-founded by Strasberg and a forerunner to The Actor’s Studio.
Ron Gilbert Article that offers great clarity to the beginnings of The Actors’ Studio and the Group theatre before it.
Spartacus Educational Brief biography of Strasberg.
The Actor’s Studio Website about The Actor’s Studio in New York.
Ron Gilbert Excellent article (now archived) by Ron Gilbert Actor’s Studio member, that discusses the origins of The Method in America. With references to Stanislavski, Lee Strasberg, Michael Chekhov, Stella Adler, Elia Kazan, Meyerhold and others, this essay paints an accurate picture of both the beauty and misunderstandings of Method acting.