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Israel “Lee” Strasberg (November 17, 1901 – February 17, 1982) was a director, actor, producer and professor of American theater.
Strasberg was born in Budanov, city of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, present-day Ukraine. It was his parents Ida and Baruch Meyer Strasberg.
In 1931, he was one of the founders of the Group Theater, a company that included the participation of Elia Kazan, John Garfield, Stella Adler, Sanford Meisner, Franchot Tone and Robert Lewis.
In 1949, he began a long career at the Actors Studio in New York, becoming in two years his artistic director. Under his tutelage are actors such as Geraldine Page, Paul Newman, Al Pacino, Kim Stanley, Marilyn Monroe, Jane Fonda, James Dean, Dustin Hoffman, Eli Wallach, Marlon Brando, Eva Marie Saint, Robert De Niro, Jill Clayburgh, Jack Nicholson , and Steve McQueen.
In 1966 he founded a branch of the Actors Studio in Los Angeles, and three years later founded the Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute.
His pedagogical vocation made him one of the main promoters of what is known as “The Method” inspired by the Stanislavski System.
He only played featured roles in a few movies. Probably his most famous performance (and which earned him the Oscar nomination) was in the second part of El Padrino, where he played Hyman Roth, a retired Jewish mafioso who supervised organized crime in Cuba. The character is based on the famous Jewish mafioso Meyer Lansky, who built a luxury hotel in Havana that he lost in the Revolution.
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