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Actors of Stage and Screen Biographies

Updated: September 27, 2012

Biographies and autobiographies for Thespians--past, present and future.

by Stanislavsky, Konstantin, 1863-1938.
Call Number: 809.25 S786-9 2010
The method shines pure and uncut from the godhead in this new translation of the classic acting textbook. Teachers will argue forever about the master's intentions, but this uncut translation from previously unavailable materials is as close as you can get to the horse's mouth.

by Lithgow, John, 1945-
Call Number: 812.092 L776
An actor's actor reflects on his upbringing in regional theater and his subsequent success on stage and screen. An obsessive affair with Liv Ulman during and after a revival of Anna Christie is one of this volume's most compelling chapters. Questions of craft and career path are explored with a combination of critical insight and visceral spontaniety that make this invaluable to those curious about the actors life as well as those who can apply these lessons to their careers.

by Miller, John, 1937-
Call Number: 822.092 D319Mi 2000
A wonderful biography written by a distinguished theatre critic with access to Dame Judi. She speaks at length about her technique in several landmark productions. This is a particularly articulate look at the process of an exceptional artist.

by Wilder, Gene, 1935-
Call Number: 812.092 W673
One of the best autobiographies by an actor ever. Wilder examines his life and career( The Producers, Blazing Saddles, Willy Wonka to name but a few) with uncompromising honesty, keen analysis, and truly remarkable prose.

by Courtney, Marguerite, 1904-
Call Number: 812.092 T243Co2
Charming and informative, this biography delivers a vivid portrait of a forgotten American actress who was the envy of her peers. Among her credits; she originated the role of Amanda Wingfield in A Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams.

by McGilligan, Patrick.
Call Number: 791.92 R2635McG
A look at the Forest Gump-esque career of Nicholas Ray. Frank Lloyd Wright, Leadbelly and John Houseman all figure in this life of the director of Rebel Without a Cause. Of particular interest are the later chapters that take place in Europe where Ray works in self-exile due to McCarthyist pressures and raging sex, drug and gambling addictions. The machinations his producers go through to provide financing and hide lack thereof will raise eyebrows and drop jaws.

by Lahr, John, 1941-
Call Number: 812.092 L184La 2000
The life of Bert Lahr written by his son, drama critic John Lahr. Besides great anecdotes on the making of The Wizard of Oz, this jewel articulates the method and philosophy of one of the great comic actors of the 20th century.