Avraham Inlender, artist, playwright and director, died of gall bladder cancer on Thursday in his Manhattan home. He was 70.
Zamosc, Poland, native spent most of his adult life in New York, Israel, and Europe. At 15, he fought in Israel’s war of independence, and later studied at Bezalel, Columbia U. and the Arts Students League. He designed for both dance and film, and his artwork has been shown throughout Europe, Israel, and the United States.
In 1955, while studying with John Gassner at Columbia, he was awarded “observer status” with director Elia Kazan during the rehearsals of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” Inlender went on to study at the Actors Studio with Lee Strasberg and later with director Erwin Piscator in Berlin.
In Israel, Inlender served as dramaturge with the Cameri Theatre’s repertory company. His play “On An Open Roof,” about discrimination and self-hatred, was first performed there, and in 1962 was produced on Broadway under the direction of Milton Katselas. Inlender’s one-person plays, “Mrs. Davidson’s Story,” “Jerusalem Spy Story” and “Shadows” explored the Jewish experience by weaving personal perceptions with historical and political events.
Under Inlender’s own direction, they were performed by his wife, Obie-winning actress Rosina Fernhoff, in Israel, the United States, Europe, and Canada.
“Snow People” a monodrama adapted by Inlender from his novel, premiered in Israel and continues to be performed by Fernhoff on campuses around the United States.
Inlender’s artwork has been exhibited extensively.
During the last six years of his life, Inlender reunited with his longtime friend Katselas, working as dramaturge at Katselas’ theater and school, the Beverly Hills Playhouse. With Katselas he co-wrote the screenplay “Visions and Lovers,” which was optioned by 20th Century Fox. Most recently, Inlender collaborated on an original drama with Susanna Lei’ataua.
Besides his wife of 50 years, Inlender is survived by two daughters and two grandsons.
Memorial services will be scheduled at a later date in Los Angeles and New York.