5 Basic Facts About Uta Hagen

By Webmaster

  • 5 Basic Facts About Uta Hagen 

    “If you want a bourgeois existence, you shouldn’t be an actor”

    (by Tonya Tannenbaum)

    Uta Hagen was an American who rose to prominence, first as a successful actress and, later, as an influential acting teacher and theorist. She authored best-selling books and was elected to the American Theater Hall of Fame.

    Here are 5 basic facts about Uta Hagen:

    #1: Hagen Fell in Love with Acting at a Young Age

    Originally born in Germany in June 1919, Hagen and her family emigrated to the United States in 1924 and eventually settled in Wisconsin. It was at the University of Wisconsin High School where Hagen’s love for acting took flight.

    She began performing in plays at school and in other local productions outside of school. Later, Hagen traveled to London to study briefly at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, before moving to New York to begin a professional acting career.

    #2: Hagen Became a Highly Successful Actress 

    Uta Hagen would go on to become a highly successful and accomplished actress, in her day. And she did so, starting at a very early age, performing in Anton Chekov’s The Seagul on Broadway at age 18.


  • “It’s not about losing yourself in the role. It’s about finding yourself in the role.” 

    (Uta Hagen) 


    Numerous roles would follow, including in Othello and A Streetcar Named Desire. She won her first Tony Award for playing Georgie in Clifford Odets’ The Country Girl. She won a second Tony for playing Martha in Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

    In all, Hagen was awarded three Tony Awards in her career, including a Special Lifetime Achievement Tony Award in 1999.

  • #3: Hagen Was Blacklisted from Hollywood

    During the height of the Cold War, many actors and entertainment industry professionals who had Communist ties, or even suspected Communist sympathies, were blacklisted. Though there was never any official blacklist with written names, some actors were, nonetheless, put on a virtual blacklist and, were denied employment opportunities.


    “If you want a bourgeois existence, you shouldn’t be an actor. You’re in the wrong profession.” 

    (Uta Hagen) 


    Hagen, thanks in part to her close association with actor, Paul Robeson, a known Communist sympathizer and critic of American foreign policy, brought her considerable trouble.

    Her status on Hollywood’s unofficial blacklist kept Hagen’s big screen career from flourishing. But she did manage to find success in Hollywood later in her career, particularly on television.

    She landed a role on the daytime soap opera, One Life to Live, and was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.

  • #4: Uta Hagen Was an Influential Acting Teacher


    (Uta Hagen in Othello)

    Uta Hagen transferred her success as an actress into success as an acting teacher. She eventually became one of the most influential acting teachers of her era.

    Hagen dutifully taught at New York’s Herbert Berghof Studio. Her list of famous pupils is quite long and extensive, and includes Matthew Broderick, Whoopi Goldberg, Al Pacino, Sigourney Weaver and Amanda Peet, just to name a few.

  • #5: Hagen Was a Best-Selling Author

    Hagen also authored best-selling books on acting, including:

    *Respect for Acting (1973) – which was a textbook for use in acting classes that emphasized, among other things, the use of the Substitution Technique, when formulating characters.

    *Challenge for the Actor (1991) – the follow-up to Respect for Acting, where she renames Substitution, now calling it “Transference”, encouraging actors to draw from thoughts and feelings from their past and to activate them through their actions.


    “We must overcome the notion that we must be regular… it robs you of the chance to be extraordinary and leads you to the mediocre.” 

    (Uta Hagen) 


    Uta Hagen was elected to the American Theater Hall of Fame in 1981. She died on January 14, 2004, after suffering a stroke in 2001.


  • You Might Also Like:
    5 Basic Facts About Stella Adler


     

    Recommended Posts

  • Ad

  • Actor Stories: How Aaron Paul Got His Big Break 

    Actor Stories: How Aaron Paul Got His Big Break  Ten years of darkness before the light finally broke through (by Carmichael Phillips) (Aaron Paul in El Camino) Jesse Pinkman is not his actual…

    The Mirror is Not Your Friend

    The Mirror is Not Your Friend Why you should never rehearse in front of your mirror (by Jim Webb) (Photo: Phinehas Adams/Unsplash) Do you rehearse your lines in front of a mirror? Do…

    5 Essential Budgeting Tips for Actors

    5 Essential Budgeting Tips for Actors Budgeting is a crucial skill in the actor’s life (by Javier Guerra) (Photo: Michael Longmire/Unsplash) All you need to do is look at your last W2, the…

    Actor Stories: How Chadwick Boseman Almost Gave Up on Acting Before He Became a Legend 

    Actor Stories:  How Chadwick Boseman Almost Gave Up on Acting Before He Became a Legend  Nothing, not even cancer, can kill a legend (by Carmichael Phillips) (Chadwick Boseman in Marshall, 2017) Age 43…

    RIP to Chadwick Boseman

    RIP to Chadwick Boseman A fantastic actor, taken much too soon (by Carmichael Phillips) (Chadwick Boseman in Black Panther) The world continues to mourn the loss of Chadwick Boseman, the talented young actor…

  • Ad

  • The Most Important Element When Choosing a Monologue

    The Most Important Element When Choosing a Monologue How to choose a monologue that fits you like a glove (by Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Monica Silvestre/Unsplash) It’s important to choose a monologue that makes…

    Bryan Cranston: “I knew I wanted to become an actor. I’m not going to have a fallback plan.”

    Bryan Cranston: “I knew I wanted to become an actor. I’m not going to have a fallback plan.” (Arranged by Carmichael Phillips) (Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad) “I knew I wanted to become…

    Viola Davis: “Pay Me What I’m Worth” 

    Viola Davis: “Pay Me What I’m Worth”  (arranged by AM Staff) (Viola Davis) “Pay Me What I’m Worth!” “What they (Caucasian women) are getting paid, which is half of what a man is…

  • Ad

  • 4 Things Actors Should Be Grateful for Despite the Pandemic 

    4 Things Actors Should Be Grateful for Despite the Pandemic  Take a brief moment to be grateful for the things you have (by Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Gabrielle Henderson/Unsplash) Did you lose out on…

    There is Power in Your Eyelids

    There is Power in Your Eyelids  How using your eyelids can captivate an audience (by Javier Guerra) (Photo: Craig Adderley/Unsplash) One of the first rules-of-thumb when it comes to on-camera acting technique is…

    SAG-AFTRA eligible

    What does “SAG-AFTRA eligible” mean?  Some basic info about being SAG-AFTRA eligible (by Jim Webb)  (Photo: Jon Tyson/Unsplash) The union formerly known as the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) represents performers in various areas…

    Talent Agent vs Talent Manager: What is the Difference? 

    Talent Agent vs Talent Manager: What is the Difference?  The lines are sometimes blurred, but both have distinct roles in the industry  (by Tonya Tannenbaum)  (Photo: christina@wocintechchat.com/Unsplash) There’s always confusion when it comes…

    Jessica Chastain: Be a script detective

    Jessica Chastain: Be a script detective Jessica Chastain speaks about the importance of script analysis (by Tonya Tannenbaum) (Jessica Chastain in Miss Sloane, 2016) Every playwright or screenwriter has a very serious problem…

  • Ad

  • 5 Ways the Actor’s Life Might Change After the Coronavirus 

    5 Ways the Actor’s Life Might Change After the Coronavirus  It’s a whole new world out there, actors!  (by Tonya Tannenbaum)  (Photo: United Nations/Unsplash) Buckle your safety belts, actors. Life as you used…

    Should an Actor Ever Work for Free? 

    Should an Actor Ever Work for Free?  Just make sure it’s part of your plan  (by Tonya Tannenbaum)  (Photo: Sharon McCutcheon/Unsplash) Should an actor ever work for free? Should you ever work for…

    A Farewell to Carl Reiner 

    A Farewell to Carl Reiner  Reiner became a force in Hollywood, thanks to his acting skills, jokes and creative ingenuity (by AM Staff)  (Carl Reiner in Ocean’s Eleven) We would like to bid…

  • Ad

  • 5 Basic Facts About Uta Hagen

    5 Basic Facts About Uta Hagen  “If you want a bourgeois existence, you shouldn’t be an actor” (by Tonya Tannenbaum) Uta Hagen was an American who rose to prominence, first as a successful…

    Memory vs. Imagination: Which Approach Works Best?

    Memory vs. Imagination: Which Approach Works Best? Actors have many different devices for achieving magic (by Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Ben Sweet/Unsplash) How should an actor work-up the emotions needed to perform a scene…

    Kate Winslet’s Advice to Actors

    Kate Winslet’s Advice to Actors  Winslet’s main advice to actors: keep going!  (by Jim Webb) (Kate Winslet in The Reader) Kate Winslet is an English actress who first found fame when she was…

    5 Basic Facts About Tom Hanks 

    5 Basic Facts About Tom Hanks  From Forrest Gump to Mr. Rogers; memorable performance after memorable performance. (by Jim Webb) (Tom Hanks in Bridge of Spies) Tom Hanks is an extraordinarily versatile actor. …

    Dennis Haysbert: “I think the word ‘acting’ is a bad word for what we do.”

    Dennis Haysbert:  “I think the word ‘acting’ is a bad word for what we do.” (arranged by AM Staff) Do you consider acting to be the art of performing a character or the…

  • Ad

  • 5 Basic Facts About Viola Davis 

    5 Basic Facts About Viola Davis  Davis is the first black actor to achieve the Triple Crown in Acting (by Jim Webb)  (Viola Davis in How to Get Away with Murder) Viola Davis…

    7 Self-Tape Instructions Actors Often Ignore

    7 Self-Tape Instructions Actors Often Ignore Treat your self-tape like you’re baking a cake. Follow ALL directions and you’ll get a sweet result. (by Jim Webb) (Photo: Luis Quintero/Pexels) Self-taping was already the…

    5 Facts About Denzel Washington

    5 Facts About Denzel Washington The greatest African American male actor in the history of American cinema? (by Jim Webb) (Denzel Washington in Man on Fire) Is Denzel Washington the greatest African American…

  • Ad

  • What is the “Pick-an-Eye Technique”?

    What is the Pick-an-Eye Technique? An unofficial name for a brilliant acting technique (by Jim Webb) You probably already know who Michael Caine is from all his many roles in films like The…

    3 Misdemeanors to Avoid on Your Acting Résumé

    3 Misdemeanors to Avoid on Your Acting Résumé Misdemeanors aren’t felonious, but they can still be problematic (by Jim Webb) (Photo: Niu Niu/Unsplash) When it comes to an actor’s résumé, there are differing…

    5 Basic Facts About Robert De Niro

    5 Basic Facts About Robert De Niro One of the most storied careers the entertainment industry has ever seen (by Jim Webb) His legendary roles, in various iconic films, have established Robert De…

    Netflix and Quarantine…and Watch Some Great Acting!

    Netflix and Quarantine…and Watch Some Great Acting! You can see lots of great, original movies, featuring some stellar acting performances, on Netflix (by Carmichael Phillips) (Photo: Freestocks/Unsplash) So, this Coronavirus pandemic has you…

    7 Basic Facts About Meryl Streep

    7 Basic Facts About Meryl Streep Here are 7 basic facts about the “greatest actress of her generation”: Meryl Streep (by Jim Webb) (Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada) Meryl Streep is…

    Actor Stories: Geoffrey Owens’ Rise and Fall…and Rise Again!

    Actor Stories: Geoffrey Owens’ Rise and Fall…and Rise Again! Owens’ newfound fame has given his career a renaissance (by Jim Webb) (Geoffrey Owens) “I’m Geoffrey Owens and I am an actor!” That was…

    Actors Who Have Tested Positive for the Coronavirus

    Actors Who Have Tested Positive for the Coronavirus The acting community has not been spared from the destruction (by Jim Webb) Covid-19 is ravaging our public health system and the global economy. It…

    Actor Stories: Molly Shannon’s 10-Year-Struggle to Beat the Odds in Hollywood

    Actor Stories: Molly Shannon’s 10-Year-Struggle to Beat the Odds in Hollywood How many years are you willing to dedicate to your dream of becoming a professional, working actor? (Arranged by Carmichael Phillips) (Molly…

    Load More