West Coast chapter still alive and well

It wasn’t long after its inception that the New York-based Actors Studio began feeding its talent into the Hollywood pipeline.

For a lot of actors, travel to the East Coast was either inconvenient or impractical. But that didn’t ease their nostalgia for Studio workouts.

By the mid-’60s, after Strasberg himself had gone bicoastal, Jack Garfein, Martin Landau and Dennis Weaver created a West Coast chapter for Studio alums in an upstairs hall on North El Centro Avenue.

In 1968, the Actors Studio took up official residence on a leafy site that once housed the William S. Hart estate, later bequeathed to the city of Los Angeles. The main house and garage spaces were converted to a rehearsal room, library and theater facilities.

The Studio has successfully fended off the efforts of other theater groups, and indeed the city itself, to gain hold of the space, in the latter case by offering outreach programs, free public and school performances and teachers drawn from its membership.

The remainder of the old Studio structure and rules remain. Anyone over 18 can audition and it takes three votes to get in. Sydney Pollack, Martin Landau and Mark Rydell are the executive directors in Los Angeles. Arthur Penn is New York president. The combined membership in both venues is 950.

The West Coast Actors Studio is located at 8341 DeLongpre Ave., West Hollywood; (213) 654-7125.

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