Uta Hagen

Actor, Acting teacher
A celebrated Broadway actress who is also noted as perhaps one of the most respected acting teachers in the USA, Uta Hagen has been an outspoken critic of both the Stanislavsky 'Method' as practiced (but not of the ... Read more »
Born: 06/12/1919 in Germany

Filmography

Actor (12)

Oz 1997 - 2003 (TV Show)

Actor

King of the Hill 1998 - 1999 (Tv Show)

Voice

Jack Lemmon: America's Everyman 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

The 50th Annual Tony Awards 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Performer

Reversal of Fortune 1990 (Movie)

Maria Schrallhammer (Actor)

Seasonal Differences 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

The Boys From Brazil 1978 (Movie)

Frieda Maloney (Actor)

The Other 1971 (Movie)

Ada (Actor)

A Doctor's Story (TV Show)

Actor

Paul Robeson: Here I Stand (TV Show)

Actor

Biography

A celebrated Broadway actress who is also noted as perhaps one of the most respected acting teachers in the USA, Uta Hagen has been an outspoken critic of both the Stanislavsky 'Method' as practiced (but not of the Russian master himself) and of formalism in acting. Born in Germany, but raised from childhood in Madison, WI, Hagen made her professional acting debut in 1937 playing Ophelia opposite Eva Le Gallienne in the latter's ground-breaking New York production of "Hamlet." That same year, she made her Broadway debut as Nina in a Broadway production of Chekhov's "The Seagull" starring Alfred Lunt and Lynne Fontanne, both of whom would have a profound influence on her acting style. She went on to star opposite her then-husband Jose Ferrer and Paul Muni in "Key Largo" (1939-40) and was the subject of controversy playing Desdemona to Paul Robeson's "Othello" (with Ferrer as Iago). When the show toured, some less liberal audience members were not accepting of a black actor and white actress having physical contact on stage. Hagen was actually contemplating abandoning the craft until she was cast by Harold Clurman in "The Whole World Over" in 1947. Clurman, one of the founders of The Group Theatre, introduced Hagen to Stanislavsky and what she would term "truthfulness on stage" as well as to Herbert Berghof, who asked her first to join his HB Studios as an acting teacher and then, several years later, to be his wife.

Relationships

Otto Frank Leonard Hagen

Father

Herbert Berghof Actor

Husband
met in 1947 married from January 25, 1957 until his death in 1990 Founder of HB Studios in NYC born in 1909

Jose Ferrer Actor

Husband
Married on December 8, 1938 divorced in June 1948 had one daughter together

Leticia Ferrer

Daughter
born in 1940 father, Jose Ferrer

Thyra Hagen

Mother
Danish

Holger Hagen

Brother
older

Paul Robeson Actor

Companion
had brief relationship when they appeared together in "Othello"

EDUCATION

Royal Academy of Dramatic Art

London, England
enrolled at age 16; dropped out after four months

Milestones

2001

Sufferd a minor stroke which caused the delay in the Broadway production of "Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks"

2001

Acted opposite David Hyde Pierce in the L.A. production of "Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks"

1998

Starred in the Off-Broadway play "Collected Stories"

1991

Starred in PBS drama special "The Sunset Gang"

1991

Published revised concept of acting in "A Challenge for the Actor"

1990

Had featured role of Maria, Sunny von Bulow's maid, in "Reversal of Fortune"

1988

Appeared in the first two episodes of the NBC drama "Tattinger's"

1987

Co-starred in "Seasonal Differences", an "ABC Afterschool Special" about the reprecussions of the removal of a Nativity scene from public property; earned Daytime Emmy nomination

1985

Had small role as a hotel guest who is robbed in the ABC daytime drama "One Life to Live"; earned Daytime Emmy nomination

1984

TV-movie debut in "A Doctor's Story" (NBC)

1980

Appeared in one-woman show "Charlotte"; later toured with production

1978

Co-starred in film "The Boys From Brazil"

1973

Published book "Respect for Acting"

1972

Feature film debut, "The Other"

1966

Was featured in the TV production "The World of Carl Sandburg"

1962

Had Broadway triumph as Martha in Edward Albee's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf"; received second Tony Award

1950

Created role of Georgie Elgin in the Broadway production of Clifford Odets' "The Country Girl"; received first Tony Award

1948

Toured as Blanche in "A Streetcar Named Desire" opposite Anthony Quinn; eventually played role on Broadway

1947

Joined faculty of The HB Studios, founded by Herbert Berghof

1947

Appeared in the Broadway production of "The Whole World Over" directed by Harold Clurman

1942

Reprised Desdemona opposite Robeson and Ferrer on Broadway; toured in the role in 1944-1945

1941

First played Desdemona opposite Paul Robeson's "Othello" in Cambridge, MA; husband Jose Ferrer cast as Iago

1937

Made professional debut as Ophelia opposite Le Gallienne's "Hamlet" in Dennis, MA

1937

Broadway debut in "The Seagull"

1937

At age 17, wrote letter to Eva Le Gallienne asking to join her theatrical company (date approximate)

1926

Moved with family to USA

Raised in Madison, WI

Returned to New York stage starring in the title role of "Mrs. Klein"; toured with the production

Bonus Trivia

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Among the many luminaries who have studied with Hagen are Jack Lemmon, Christine Lahti, Whoopi Goldberg, Jeff Bridges, Jill Clayburgh, Kate Reid, Hal Holbrook, Pat Hingle, Tom Berenger, Liza Minnelli, F Murray Abraham, Mercedes Ruehl and Ron Silver.

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Hagen has received honorary doctorates from Smith College, DePaul University and Wooster College.

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In 1981, Hagen was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame.

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On her first marriage to Jose Ferrer, Hagen told People (February 5, 1996): "We were children, That's my excuse for what a rotten mother I was. I was selfish with my career and expected too much from her."

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