7 Basic Facts About Stella Adler

By Webmaster

  • 7 Basic Facts About Stella Adler
    Stella Adler left behind a powerful legacy, inspiring a who’s who of iconic actors

    (by Carmichael Phillips)

    Stella Adler (February 10, 1901- December 21, 1992) may have come from a famous family of performers, but it was Stella who would go on to have perhaps the greatest influence on the craft of acting. Through her books, schools, theories and teachings, Stella Adler helped shape the way actors approach the craft of acting and she forcefully voiced new ideas that challenged even legendary acting teachers like Lee Strasberg.

    Here are 7 basic facts about the life and influence of Stella Alder:

    #1: Stella Adler was a born actress

    Stella Adler was born to act. Literally. It was hard for her not to be. She came from a famous family of performers, the Jewish American Adler acting family dynasty, including her parents Sara and Jacob P. Adler and all her siblings.


    The actor has to develop his body. The actor has to work on his voice. But the most important thing the actor has to work on is his mind.

    (Stella Adler)


    Stella began acting at age four in productions put on by her parents’ company, the Independent Yiddish Art Company, which flourished in the Yiddish Theater District in New York in the early to mid-1900s.

  • #2: Konstantin Stanislavski was her greatest influence

    Though Adler had been an established actress for most of her young life, into her 20’s, she was not prepared for the performances she witnessed when Konstantin Stanislavski brought the Moscow Art Theatre on tour in the United States in 1922. Their performances, which were built on Stanislavski’s acting theories had a lasting impact on her, as it did on many actors.

    The powerful performances of the Moscow Art Theatre, or M.A.T., drove Adler to join the American Laboratory Theatre in 1925 – the only school in the states that taught Stanislavski’s theories at that time. Studying under Richard Boleslavsky and Maria Ouspenskaya, former members of M.A.T., Adler was introduced to the collection of acting techniques that would later become known as the “Stanislavski System”.

  • #3: Stella was one of the original founders of Group Theatre

    While studying at the American Laboratory Theatre, Adler also met other hungry young actors, including Sanford Meisner, Lee Strasberg, Harold Clurman and Cheryl Crawford. Together they would create perhaps the most influential theatre company in the history of the United States, Group Theatre.

    Their work further built on techniques developed by Stanislavski, including Affective Memory, which calls upon actors to recall experiences in their personal lives and relate them to their characters’ experiences to bring truth to their performances.

    #4: Stanislavski altered the course of her career 

    Over time, Stella Adler grew weary of the use of Affective Memory. She believed it limited an actor’s performance to rely solely on their own personal experiences. She began to believe that the use of imagination would allow an actor to find creativity, meaning and truth well beyond their own experiences.


    Don’t use your conscious past. Use your creative imagination to create a past that belongs to your character. I don’t want you to be stuck with your own life. It’s too little.

    (Stella Adler)


    This led to clashes with Group Theatre’s director, Lee Strasberg, who believed that Affective Memory was one of the “golden keys” of acting.

    Stella sought advice from the technique’s creator, Konstantin Stanislavski. After visiting with Stanislavski in France, she discovered that Stanislavski had long abandoned the technique and would only advise actors to use it as a last resort – when all other acting techniques fail to achieve desired results.

    Armed with this knowledge, from Stanislavski, himself, Adler began to break away from Group Theatre. The company eventually dissolved altogether in 1941.

  • #5: Stella found success as an actress and acting teacher


    After leaving Group Theatre, Adler moved to Hollywood to act in films under the name Stella Ardler. She would eventually return to New York to teach at schools – even occasionally at Group Theatre before it dissolved – and eventually opened her own school, Stella Adler Conservatory of Theatre, in 1949. She also taught at the Yale School of Drama, becoming one of the country’s most prominent acting teachers.


    The word “theatre” comes from the Greeks. It means the seeing place. It is the place people come to see the truth about life and the social situation. The theatre is a spiritual and social X-ray of its time.

    (Stella Adler)


    #6: Stella left behind an outstanding legacy

    Stella Adler left behind and impressive legacy, one that includes schools, books, awards and some very famous disciples.

    Her teachings inspired several books on the craft of acting, including:

    The Technique of Acting (published in 1988)

    Creating a Character: A Physical Approach to Acting (published in 1993)

    Stella Adler: the Art of Acting (published in 2000)

    She and her studio founded several schools, including:

    The Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York City in 1949

    The Stella Adler Studio of Acting in Los Angeles in 2010

    In 1993, Stella Adler was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame. She even posthumously received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2006, placed in front of the Stella Adler Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard.

  • #7: Stella influenced many famous actors

    In addition to her works, Adler also left behind many passionate disciples. Adler influenced a who’s who of successful and iconic actors. Perhaps none was more impactful than her influence on Marlon Brando.


    Stella Adler was much more than a teacher of acting. Through her work she imparts the most valuable kind of information—how to discover the nature of our own emotional mechanics and therefore those of others.

    (Marlon Brando)


    Other actors who studied under Adler directly or who trained at her acting studios include:

    • Robert DeNiro
    • Mark Ruffalo
    • Benicio Del Toro
    • Salma Hayek
    • Judy Garland
    • Elizabeth Taylor
    • Warren Beatty
    • Martin Sheen


    You Might Also Like:
    7 Basic Facts About Konstantin Stanislavski


     

    Recommended Posts

  • Ad

  • 7 Good Reasons to Get New Headshots 

    7 Good Reasons to Get New Headshots  There are many reasons why you might consider getting new headshots, despite the costs (by Jim Webb) (Photo: Andrea Piacquadio | Pexels) There are several immutable…

    Katharine Hepburn: “You don’t have to act. Let the camera do the work.” 

    Katharine Hepburn:  “You don’t have to act. Let the camera do the work.”  (by Carmichael Phillips) (Katharine Hepburn) “Don’t act! You don’t have to act. Stop acting. Don’t push! Let the camera do…

    The Self-Tape Checklist 

    The Self-Tape Checklist  Use it to make sure you don’t leave anything out of your self-tape (by Carmichael Phillips) (Photo: Anete Lusina | Pexels) I can guarantee that you’ve missed something. It’s inevitable….

    Actor Stories: How Ed O’Neill Landed His Breakout Role by Making a Bold Choice 

    Actor Stories: How Ed O’Neill Landed His Breakout Role by Making a Bold Choice  O’Neill hit casting directors with something they weren’t expecting (by Carmichael Phillips) (Ed O’Neill in Married…with Children) At an…

    Actor Stories: How Matt Damon Created His Own Opportunity, and Made Himself into a Star 

    Actor Stories: How Matt Damon Created His Own Opportunity, and Made Himself into a Star Damon, along with pal, Ben Affleck, refused to wait for Hollywood’s approval (by Carmichael Phillips) (Matt Damon in…

  • Ad

  • When You Don’t Have an Agent, Your Agent is You! 

    When You Don’t Have an Agent, Your Agent is You!  You’ve got a very demanding client. So, get going! (by Jim Webb) (Photo: Fauxels | Pexels) Set up your office space. Clean off…

    Michael Jai White: “This business does not support talent. It supports heat.” 

    Michael Jai White:  “This business does not support talent. It supports heat.” (arranged by Carmichael Phillips) (Michael Jai White) “This business does not support talent. It supports heat.” Actor and martial artist, Michael…

    4 Things to Remember When Writing Your Cover Letter 

    4 Things to Remember When Writing Your Cover Letter  Keep it short, sweet and to the point. (by Javier Guerra) (Photo: Andrea Piacquadio | Pexels) You probably already know what marketing materials you…

  • Ad

  • Give Me Feedback on My Self-Tape, or Pay Me for It!

    Give Me Feedback on My Self-Tape, or Pay Me for It! Casting directors don’t even give us the courtesy of a little feedback on our self-tapes (The Anonymous Actor) (Photo: Andrea Piacquadio |…

    What is Taft-Hartley? 

    What is Taft-Hartley?  Let’s explore the law, and the report, that gets actors in the door of America’s largest actor union (by Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Andrea Piacquadio | Pexels) A Taft-Hartley is the…

    Stella Adler, On the Importance of Confidence 

    Stella Adler, On the Importance of Confidence  “No actor is a success unless he feels inside himself…that he is good.” (arranged by Carmichael Phillips) “No actor is a success unless he feels inside…

    The Acting World Goes Virtual 

    The Acting World Goes Virtual  And that’s a good thing!  (by Carmichael Phillips) (Photo: Beci Harmony | Unsplash) As the old saying goes, “The only constant is change.” But in this new Covid-19…

    Actors Losing Health Insurance at an Alarming Rate 

    Actors Losing Health Insurance at an Alarming Rate  Covid-19 is forcing changes that put new constraints on the accessibility of health insurance (by Javier Guerra) (Photo: Bermix Studio | Unsplash) Covid-19 has dramatically…

  • Ad

  • 10 Actors We Loved and Lost in 2020

    10 Actors We Loved and Lost in 2020 Here’s a partial list of some of the actors we will miss (by Carmichael Phillips) (Photo source: Jamie Street/Unsplash) No doubt, 2020 was a rough…

    What is a SAG-AFTRA Must-Join? 

    What is a SAG-AFTRA Must-Join?  Let’s explore this SAG-AFTRA status… (by Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Eunice Lituanas | Unsplash) A “Must-Join” is the label placed on actors who have surpassed the grace period (usually…

    Bill Nighy: “I still don’t have a process” 

    Bill Nighy: “I still don’t have a process”  (arranged by Carmichael Phillips) (Bill Nighy) “I’m old enough to say that I’ve never knowingly been in character in my life.” Bill Nighy, the English…

  • Ad

  • Create Your Own Opportunities!

    Create Your Own Opportunities!  What’s your excuse for not producing your own projects and casting yourself?  (by Jim Webb) (Photo: Gianandrea Villa/Unsplash) The advent of things like social media and the internet allows…

    Viola Davis: “I write a bio of the character.”

    Viola Davis: “I write a bio of the character.” Viola Davis describes her character-building and collaboration process (arranged by Carmichael Phillips) (Viola Davis) “I read the script over and over and over again….

    Do You Have an Acting Mentor? 

    Do You Have an Acting Mentor?  How having a mentor can help you save time, money and your sanity (by Jim Webb) (Photo: neONBRAND/unsplash) You already know that taking acting classes can help…

    Good News & Bad News for Background Actors

    Good News & Bad News for Background Actors  There are lucrative opportunities for those fortunate enough to find them  (arranged by Carmichael Phillips)  (Photo: Sigmund/Unsplash) There has been lots of bad news for…

    The 3 Main Types of Commercials 

    The 3 Main Types of Commercials  Commercial actors can benefit from understanding the distinctions (by Javier Guerra) A commercial is a commercial is a commercial. They’re all the same, right? Except, they are…

  • Ad

  • Ed Harris: “Acting is a lifelong situation.” 

    Ed Harris:  “Acting is a lifelong situation.” (arranged by Carmichael Phillips) (Ed Harris in Westworld) “Acting is a lifelong situation…’til you drop dead.” Ed Harris is one of the most successful character actors…

    The Easiest Way to Improve Your Acting Life? Go to Sleep!

    The Easiest Way to Improve Your Acting Life? Go to Sleep!  The subtle ways that sleep impacts your performance (by Todd Bruce) (Photo: Damir Spanic/Unsplash) Not getting enough sleep at night? Do you…

    The Self-Tape Request from Hell!

    The Self-Tape Request from Hell! Sometimes casting directors ask for far too much! (by The Anonymous Actor) (Photo: Usman Yousaf/Unsplash) Forgive me for saying this, but this self-taping thing has gone too far!…

  • Ad

  • 10 Reasons Why Being a Modern Actor is Bad Ass

    10 Reasons Why Being a Modern Actor is Bad Ass There simply has never been a better time to be an actor (by Carmichael Phillips) (Photo: Roy Alanwar/Unsplash) Aren’t you glad to be…

    How to Sell Yourself in 10 Seconds or Less

    How to Sell Yourself in 10 Seconds or Less Quick! Sell your acting career in 10 seconds or less! (by Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: August de Richelieu/Unsplash) Quick! Sell your acting career in 10…

    What is a Right-to-Work State?

    What is a Right-to-Work State?  There are currently 27 Right-to-Work states in the United States (by Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Joey Csunyo/Unsplash) A right-to-work state is a state that forbids union security agreements. That…

    7 Words That Can Trip an Actor Up

    7 Words That Can Trip an Actor Up  Confusing, isn’t it? (by Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Brett Jordan/Unsplash) As if the acting business was not perplexing enough, there’s always something else to confuse the…

    Edie Falco: “Just make sure you’re always working on something. Representation or not.”

    Edie Falco:  “Just make sure you’re always working on something. Representation or not.” (arranged by Carmichael Phillips) (Edie Falco in Nurse Jackie) “Just make sure you’re always working on something. Representation or not.”…

    The Virtual Audition Waiting Room

    The Virtual Audition Waiting Room “It’s now your turn to audition, please enter Studio B.” (by The Anonymous Actor) (Photo: Vladimir Fedotov/Unsplash) The global pandemic has forced us all to reevaluate the way…

    The Pandemic Ruined My Actor Life!

    The Pandemic Ruined My Actor Life! But here’s to hoping things get back to normal (by The Anonymous Actor)  (Photo: Cristian Newman/Unsplash) My Last Normal Day…  I can’t remember the exact date. To…

    The Actor’s Job Description

    The Actor’s Job Description  Help wanted. Apply now! (by Javier Guerra) (Photo: Yogendra Singh/Unsplash) Help wanted: ACTORS Employer: The Entertainment Industry Salary: $52,000 annually, on average Bonuses: Possibly Millions Benefits: Health and Retirement…

    Load More