Stella Adler

Stella Adler ( born February 10, 1901 in New York City; † December 21, 1992 in Los Angeles ) was an American stage and film actress and drama teacher. Adler was a student of Konstantin Stanislavski.


Stella Adler was born into a Jewish-American theatrical family whose roots lay in the Ukraine: Her father Jacob P. Adler (1855-1926) was a performer of Yiddish- American theater. Her mother Sara Adler, born Levitskaya, her five siblings (Jay, Luther, Julia, Frances, Florence ) and her half-brother Charles were actors on the Yiddish stage in New York.

Adler's stage career began at the age of five years in productions of her father. 1919 Stella Adler spent a year in London. The years 1920 to 1930 she spent on stage tour in the U.S., Europe and South America, where she also appeared in the theater vaudeville as to the Yiddish stage. As a Leading Lady by Maurice Schwartz - another actor of the Yiddish- American theater - was Stella Adler first recognition.

Around 1930 she studied in addition to their stage work at the American Laboratory Theatre, the Richard and Mary Boleslavsky Ouspenskaya had founded in 1925. The two founders were former members of the Moscow Art Theatre, who taught their students after an early version of the doctrine of the Russian actor and theater reformer Stanislavsky.

1931 met eagle, also in America Laboratory Theatre, the director and critic Harold Clurman, to whom she was married for the second from 1943 to 1960. Clurman founded in 1931 - together with Cheryl Crawford and Lee Strasberg - New York's Group Theatre, which is also based on the teachings of Stanislavsky, from which developed the method acting. The Group Theatre led the naturalism into American theater. In the spring of 1931 Adler joined this group traveled - after she had Stanislavsky personally met in Paris during a visit - to Russia, long at five weeks at the Moscow Art Theatre of Stanislavsky and study as a private pupil. In addition to Michael Chekhov and Ryszard Boleslawski she was one of the few Americans who have studied with Stanislavsky. When she returned to New York in August 1934, she was convinced that Strasberg did not understand the Stanislavski method and interpreted incorrectly. Some of her colleagues - including Sanford Meisner, Phoebe Brand, Margaret Barker and Robert Lewis - followed their reasoning, Strasberg however remained unconvinced. This contrast was followed for a lifelong rivalry between Strasberg and Adler that the Group Theatre in 1935 again left for this reason. Occasionally, she returned for a role, after 1937 they finally turned off.

Despite the conflicts with Stella Adler Strasberg had shown some of her best acting performances while working with the Group Theatre, Clifford Odets, especially in 'play Awake and Sing, in which she played the role of Bessie Berger. After her return from Moscow, she began to give acting lessons. Among its first students were Margaret Barker, Sanford Meisner, Robert Lewis and Elia Kazan.

Stella Adler's career suffered from their Jewish origins: Although a disproportionate number of film producers in Hollywood were themselves Jewish, had Jewish performer up in the 1960s to replace their obviously Jewish names by artist name if they wanted to succeed. Even Stella Adler called when she went to Hollywood, Stella Ardler. In 1937 she worked on the side of John Payne in the produced by Emanuel Cohen film comedy Love on toast. Director in this film led emigrated after the Nazi takeover of Germany Ewald André Dupont. After four years of pause followed 1941, a role in MGM's production of The Shadow of the Thin Man. The third and final film in the Stella Adler participated, was My Girl Tisa, an emigrant drama starring Lilli Palmer, Sam Wanamaker and Akim Tamiroff, again received only a minor role in the eagle.

In the early 1940s left Adler Hollywood and worked on Broadway and in London as an actor and as a director. She also began on Dramatic Workshop to teach a foundation of Erwin Piscator in 1940 at the New School for Social Research. In 1949 she founded her own school, the Stella Adler Theatre Studio, which later became the name Stella Adler Conservatory of Acting and received as Stella Adler Studio of Acting persists.

Stella Adler married his first wife in London the businessman Horace Oliashev they left pregnant; Ellen Adler was born in 1930, the actress was also. In his third marriage Adler married the writer Mitchell A. Wilson († 1973).

At Eagle friends were among others the composer Aaron Copland, Milton Babbitt, Leonard Bernstein and Oscar Levant, the critic Irving Howe, the writer Irwin Shaw, the painter Jacques Lipchitz and the actor Joseph Schildkraut, Franchot Tone and John Garfield.

Stella Adler's grave is located on Mount Carmel Cemetery in Glendale in Queens, New York.

Stanislavski method

By Stella Adler, the Stanislavski method mediated - that is synonymous with the realistic drama - she was an influential acting teacher of the 20th century. Your interpretation of Method Acting departed from Strasberg from so far that some of their students refused to bring their style of work at all with the embossed name of Strasberg Method Acting in conjunction. Especially Adler put it close to their students to take advantage of those moods for a credible representation that were open to them by the other actors on the stage, and not - as Strasberg recommended it - to draw from the reservoir of their personal memories. Strasberg held his students to to do research for the convincing representation of a role in their private memories ( " technique of substitution" ), which this Be moved in the ambiguous position after eagle belief to think the same about their own lives and to embody a stranger. Stanislavsky taught them: The source of the play is imagination, and the key to his problems is authenticity, genuineness in the circumstances of the play. After Strasberg's death Adler said: This man has thrown back the American theater by 100 years.

At Stella Adler's students included Marlon Brando, Jocelyn Brando, Roy Scheider, Warren Beatty, Harvey Keitel, Martin Sheen, Robert De Niro, Candice Bergen, Bud Cort, Vincent D' Onofrio, Kate Mulgrew, Christoph Waltz and Benicio Del Toro.


Stage performances (selection)

Director (Selection)



  • 2000: Stella Adler: Awake and Dream


  • The Technique of Acting. Bantam, New York, 1990, ISBN 0-553-34932-5.
  • The Art of Acting. Applause Books, 2000, ISBN 1-55783-373-7.
  • Stella Adler on Ibsen, Strindberg, and Chekhov. Vintage, 2000, ISBN 0-679-74698-6.
  • The School of Dramatic Art. Henschel, Leipzig 2005, ISBN 3-89487-506-2.