I learned a good deal of acting techniques in my year of  training.

Method, Meisner, Adler, Hagen, Chekov.  

Here are some of my favorite teachers I have had the pleasure of working with...

SANFORD MEISNER

Everyone knows about Mr. Meisner and the now famed "Meisner Technique."  It was an honor to study under this legendary teacher.

JEFF COREY

A very important mentor to me.  His Los Angeles Times obituary best describes this amazing teacher and man.

Jeff Corey, 88; Blacklisted Actor to Teacher

By JON THURBER, TIMES STAFF WRITERJeff Corey, a gifted actor who was blacklisted for refusing to name names before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in the 1950's but emerged as on the most sought-after teachers in Hollywood, has died.  He was 88.  Perhaps best-known for his post-blacklist roles in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," "In Cold Blood", "Little Big Man" and on the TV sitcoms "One Day at a Time" and "Night Court," Corey died Friday morning at St. John's Medical Center in Santa Monica of complications from a fall earlier in the week at his home in Malibu.To generations of actors, directors and writers, Corey's name on the blacklist didn't mean a thing.  They came to his informal class for insightful ideas on the craft of acting and views on how to handle challenging roles.His list of students makes up a who's who of the Hollywood elite since the 1950's and includes James Dean, Jane Fonda, Peter Fonda, Robert Blake, Leonard Nimoy, Robin Williams, Rob Reiner, Robert Towne, Roger Corman, Penny Marshall, Taylor Hackford and a young Jack Nicholson."Acting is life study, and Corey's classes got me into looking at life as an artist," Nicholson said years later.  Those who knew Corey's teaching process said his was Stanislavsky Method teacher but with a small "m." His process was eclectic and involved one-on-one work with an actor.  He created improvisational exercises that allowed actors to engage their imaginations and subconscious minds in pursuit of a theme that they could apply to their roles.Corey was always pursuing a current underlying emotional and psychological theme in the actor's work.  And in doing that, he was trying to help the actor relate to the here and now rather than the arcane notion for the character's circumstances.  "I tell my students, 'Respect the instrument.  It is you doing the acting'," Corey told The Times some years ago.  "By all means, you must be responsive to the meaning of the play, to what the author meant and to what the audience will ultimately see.  Engage your own intuition, use your own frames of reference and give something which is uniquely yours; put something rich into performance rather than external result that hasn't got your face.  Simplicity is the cherished quality."Corey didn't set out to be a teacher.  An indifferent student in high school in New York City, he took a drama class and became inspired with acting.  He earned a scholarship to the Feagin School of Dramatic Arts, then a leading theater school in New York City, which he later said kept him from career selling sewing machines.  From there, he did work in Shakespearean repertory and then worked with a traveling children's theater troupe.  His first meaty stage was in Leslie Howard's touring production of "Hamlet," in which he played Rosencrantz.Corey and his wife moved to Los Angeles, and he found work, appearing in 23 films from 1940 in 1943, including "The Devil and Daniel Webster,"  "My Friend Flicka," and "Joan of Arc."  He joined the Navy in 1943 and was assigned to the ship Yorktown as a combat photographer.  He earned citations for some footage he shot during a kamikaze attack on the ship.  After the war, Corey returned to Hollywood and resumed his busy career playing heavies in such films as "The Killers" and "Brute Force."  He also played a psychiatrist in "Home of the Brave," one of his best performances.  Corey seemed ready for even better film parts as the second lead or top character actor, when he was subpoenaed to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, which had been investigating Communist influence in Hollywood since 1947.The actor was scheduled to appear at the hearing in downtown Los Angeles in September 1951.  He was 37 and had a wife and three daughters to support.  But he took the 5th Amendment and didn't work again as an actor in Hollywood for more than a decade, missing out on countless movie opportunities and what would later be considered the golden age of television.  "Most of us were retired reds.  We had left it, at least I had, years before," Corey told Patrick McGilligan, the co-author of "Tender Comrades: A Backstory of the Hollywood Blacklist" who also teaches film at Marquette University. "The only issue was, did you want to just give them their token names so you could continue your career, or not?  I had no impulse to defend a political point of view that no longer interested me particularly...  They just wanted two names so they could hand out more subpoenas."He found work as a laborer earning $14 a day and enrolled as a freshman at UCLA on the GI Bill.  He eventually earned a degree a speech therapy.  Corey would later say that he fell into teaching somewhat by accident.  He said was a student who was failing miserably in another program organized the first class and talked him into teaching it, which he did in the garage of his Hollywood Hills home.  Carol Burnett, then a freshman at UCLA, was among the students.  Word of mouth kept the classes going as Corey, a self-effacing man, didn't promote himself or advertise and did little to encourage enrollment.  By the mid-1950's, he was the most sought-after acting coach in Hollywood.  Studios that would not hire Corey as an actor because of the blacklist actively sent their young talent to study with him.Corey himself wouldn't start working again in films until 1962, when he was offered parts in the films "The Balcony" and "The Yellow Canary."  One of his students, Pat Boone, helped him get the part in "The Yellow Canary" by talking the legal department at Fox into taking him on.  Over the next 35 years, Corey appeared in more than 70 films or television series.  He also got chances to direct.  According to McGilligan, Corey was "an actor's actor, someone that actors loved to watch because he was always doing something interesting in his work.""Jeff was articulate about ideas, provocative and inspirational," McGilligan told The Times on Saturday.  "He was a wonderful actor who we never fully got to see because of the blacklist."

JOSE QUINTERO

The brilliant theater director who founded the Circle in the Square Theater in NYC.  He established himself by directing Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh (starring Jason Robards) and Long Day's Journey Into Night (which won the Tony for the best play and actor) in the same year.  His scene study class and text analysis seminars were priceless.

ERIC MORRIS 

A genius for spotting instrumental blocks in actors.  His classic book, "No Acting, Please." is a must read. This book as well as his overlooked, "Irreverent Acting" are big influences on me

Ernie Martin

Ernie is one of the most revered acting teachers to emerge from New York's legendary Actors Studio.  He began his teaching and directing career in 1970 for Lee Strasberg.  He is featured in the book, "The New Generation of Acting Teachers."  He has an amazing eye for truth and is an authority on sensory technique.  

Joan Darling 

An Emmy and DGA award winning director who started her career as the only female performer in the improvisational group the Premise, whose members included Gene Hackman, George Segal, and Buck Henry.  As well as teaching and coaching actors, she serves as a creative advisor for the Sundance Film Lab where she mentors your filmakers.

Tom Noonan 

A great character actor and teacher.  Tom also won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at Sundance for his film "What happened was..."

 Austin Pendleton

Another great character actor and fantastic actors' director. He teaches at the famous HB Studios in NYC.


 

George Shdanoff

Mr. Shdanoff was the long time associate and friend of the famed actor and teacher Michael Chekov.  Stanislavski considered Chekov his best student.  Michael Chekov dedicated his now famous book on acting,"To the Actor on the Technique of Acting", to George Shdanoff:

"To George Shdanoff--who shared with me the strenuous work, excitement and joys of the Chekov Theater.  His directorial ability and pedagogic experiments with the principles of the method I introduce in this book were stimulating influences."

An elegant man who faithfully passed on the Chekov Technique to the next generation of actors.