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Milton Katselas (December 22, 1933 - October 24, 2008) was an American film director and famous Hollywood coach for The Beverly Hills Playhouse. He has taught such stars as Gene Hackman, Jason Beghe, Jenna Elfman, George Clooney, Alec Baldwin, Giovanni Ribisi, Tom Selleck, Michelle Pfeiffer, Ted Danson, Tony Danza, Jeffrey Tambor, Gene Reynolds, Tyne Daly, Mel Harris, Catherine Bell, Sofia Milos, Elizabeth Sung and many more.

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Biography

Milton Katselas was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S., to Greek immigrant parents,[1] who had a tiny restaurant right outside the gates of a Westinghouse Electric plant. When Katselas was 14 years old, his father went into the movie theater business and ran a local theater company of Greek actors, and Milton himself would sing.

After high school, Katselas set off for Pittsburgh's Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon) to study theater. On a visit to New York, he sneaked in to watch Lee Strasberg's acting class where he also saw renowned director Elia Kazan on the street and chased him down. "I talked to him in Greek, and he talked with me", Katselas recalls. "He told me, `When you finish college, come see me.'" Katselas did.[2] Following graduation in 1954, he began studying with Strasberg and serving as an apprentice to Kazan.

After working with several other big-name directors, including Joshua Logan, Joseph Anthony, and Sanford Meisner, Katselas struck out on his own, beginning with the original 1960 Off-Broadway production of Edward Albee's The Zoo Story. This was followed by another critical success the following year, Michael Shurtleff's Call Me By My Rightful Name. He was nominated for a Tony Award for the Broadway production of Leonard Gershe's Butterflies Are Free in 1969, and also directed the 1972 movie version starring Goldie Hawn, Edward Albert, and Eileen Heckart, who won an Academy Award for her role. The following year he reunited with Gershe and Albert for the film 40 Carats. His other credits include the Broadway shows Camino Real and The Rose Tattoo, local productions of The Seagull, Romeo and Juliet, and Streamers - all of which won him L.A. Drama Critics Circle awards for best direction. In 1983, Katselas directed a revival of Noel Coward's Private Lives, the only Broadway stage production in which Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton co-starred together. However, after the show was panned in its Boston tryout, Taylor, who was a producer, fired Katselas, yet he retained his directing credit for the Broadway run.[3]

He also directed the screen adaptation of Mark Medoff's When You Comin' Back, Red Ryder?.

Katselas had also been active as a writer, painter and acting teacher for over twenty years. He wrote a book titled Dreams Into Action which garnished international attention and has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show discussing the book's success.

He was a long-time Scientologist, having been introduced to it in 1965, and had attained the Scientology state of Operating Thetan. A number of Hollywood celebrities were introduced to Scientology by means of Katselas' acting workshops.[4][5] Katselas died of heart failure on October 24, 2008 at the Los Angeles hospital Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.[6]

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