Stella ADLER Biography

American actress, director, acting teacher, and studio founder. Name variations: Lola Adler (stage name), Stella Ardler (film name).

Born Stella Adler Feb 10, 1902, in New York, NY; died Dec 21, 1992, in Los Angeles, California; dau. of Jacob P. and Sara (Lewis) Adler (foremost tragedians of the Yiddish stage); sister of Frances, Julia Adler (1897–1995), Luther, and Jay; half-sister of Abe, Charles, and Celia Adler (1890–1979); attended NYU; studied acting with Maria Ouspenskaya; m. Horace Eleascheff (div.); m. Harold Clurman, 1943 (div. 1960); m. Mitchell Wilson; children: (1st m.) Ellen Oppenheim.

Grand dame of the stage and influential teacher, performed in over 200 productions, from the classics to the new realism; made her theatrical debut at father’s theater, The Grand, NY, in Broken Hearts (1906); performed in repertory with parents (1906–18); made London debut (1919); 1st appeared on Broadway in The World We Live In by Karel Capek (1922); with brother Luther, joined the Group Theater (1931), a repertory founded by Harold Clurman, Lee Strasberg, and Cheryl Crawford, modeled after the Moscow Art Theater; appeared as Geraldine Connelly in The Group’s 1st production, Paul Green’s The House of Connelly (1931); played Bessie Berger in Clifford Odets’ Awake and Sing! (1935); also appeared in plays by Maxwell Anderson, Robert Lewis, and Sidney Kingsley; worked with Stanislavski (1934); had a falling out with Lee Strasberg over interpretation of Stanislavski’s methods and made final stage appearance with the Group as Clara in Paradise Lost (1935); made film debut in Love on Toast under name Stella Ardler; also appeared in Shadow of the Thin Man (1941) and My Girl Tisa (1948); was associate producer on Du Barry Was a Lady and Madame Curie, and involved with several Judy Garland films, including For Me and My Gal; opened Stella Adler Acting Studio (1949), later named Stella Adler Conservatory of Acting, promoting the acting methods of Stanislavski (graduates include Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro, and Warren Beatty); served as adjunct professor of acting at Yale University’s School of Drama; opened a 2nd conservatory in Los Angeles (1986); wrote The Technique of Acting (Bantam, 1988).