A distinguished actor, theater director and stage impresario of Russian and German ancestry, Michael Chekhov was the nephew of famous playwright and short story writer Anton Chekhov. He began his career in his native Russia and was a member of the legendary Moscow Art Theater, but his international acclaim really began to spread when he emigrated to England and set up the Michael Chekhov Theatre and an influential acting school. He later set up another famed acting school in New York and, indeed, his work in theater education may be his most important legacy. Indeed his acting students included the likes of Gregory Peck, Yul Brynner and Beatrice Straight. Nonetheless, the intense, diminutive Chekhov, most typically cast as intelligent, impassioned Middle Europeans, also made his mark as an actor, and in middle age began to work occasionally in films as well.