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Stella Adler was born in New York City in 1901. She began her life on the stage at the age of five in a production of Broken Hearts that starred her father, Jacob Adler. She later studied at the American Laboratory Theater under Richard Boleslavsky and Maria Ouspenskaya, former members of the famed Moscow Art Theater. In 1934, she met Konstantin Stanislavsky in Paris and studied with him. She was a founding member of the Group Theater and began to give acting classes for the other members of the Group, including Sanford Meisner, Elia Kazan, and Robert Lewis, who went on to become theatrical directors and acting teachers. While continuing her career as an actress, Stella Adler taught classes in the early 1940s at the Dramatic Workshop at the New School for Social Research, and at Yale. In 1949, she established the Stella Adler Conservatory of Acting. She died in 1992 at the age of ninety-one.
Barry Paris is the author of four books, among them Louise Brooks and Garbo. He is also a Russian scholar and has translated the plays of Chekhov. He lives in Pittsburgh.