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A Leap From the Method: An Organic Approach to Acting

A Leap From the Method: An Organic Approach to Acting
Your Price: $29.95 CDN
Author: Allan Rich
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 151
Pub. Date: 2007
ISBN-10: 1420822233
ISBN-13: 9781420822236

About the Book:

An esteemed character actor and acting coach with an instantly recognizable face, Allan Rich was one of the busiest performers in Hollywood, working in all arenas – stage, film, and on the small screen. A Leap From the Method is a "class in a book" that provides a solid foundation in the same "organic technique" he used in his own work and taught for decades to serious professionals.

Allan Rich began his distinguished acting career as a teenager in New York, working with immortals such as Edward G. Robinson, Claude Raines, Ralph Bellamy, Jack Palance, Kim Hunter, Milton Berle and Henry Fonda. He went to Harold Clurman's after-theatre class. (Any actor who doesn't know who Harold Clurman was should look him up.) During the mid 1940s, his name came up during the House Un-American Activities Committee led by Sen. Joseph McCarthy because the actor was part of the Theatrical Action Committee to Free Willie McGee, a Black man from Mississippi who had been convicted of rape in 1945 and subsequently electrocuted in 1951. Without warning, Allan Rich's advocacy of civil rights landed his name in Red Channels, the Hollywood blacklist.

No longer able to get a job as an actor, and needing to support a young family, he cajoled his way onto Wall Street and became a stockbroker, eventually opening his own brokerage firm. Later he became an expert in modern art, opening the Allan Rich Galleries on Madison Avenue, where he began selling major works by Miro, Calder and Salvador Dali.

Despite his enormous success outside of the entertainment field, he re-launched his film career in 1973 playing district attorney Herman Tauber in Sidney Lumet's Serpico with Al Pacino. Allan Rich went on to appear in features that include Demi Moore's attorney in Barry Levinson's Disclosure, Judge Juttson in Steven Spielberg's Amistad, and NBC television president Robert Kintner in Robert Redford's Quiz Show, for which The New York Times reviewed his performance as having "the gruff assurance of a real executive."

He moved to Hollywood in 1976, where his filmography grew to include nearly 200 roles. His TV appearances included All in the Family, Kojak, NYPD Blue, Barney Miller, Happy Days, various roles on The Nanny (from 1993-97) and the recurring role of Judge Maurice Schiller on Hill Street Blues. On a 2004 episode of HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm, he played a memorable Holocaust survivor who argued over who had to endure more with a contestant from the TV show Survivor.

Allan Rich also offered private coaching, as well as an ongoing class for students who had already been through his private sessions. Some of his more famous students include Sharon Stone, Jamie Lee Curtis, Rene Russo, Donna Dixon, Jack Scalia and Alan Thicke and Larry Miller. In A Leap From the Method, he walks you through his own artistic growth from theory to practice – and shows how easy it is to get it all wrong. His "leap from the Method" largely refers to his leap from Stanislavsky's teachings, which have confused and vexed acting students for generations.

A Leap From the Method puts into plain words the various acting methods first described by famous acting teachers such as Konstantin Stanislavski and Stella Adler. While he sympathizes with Stanislavsky's oft stated frustration in trying to create a clearly delineated approach to acting, Allan Rich ultimately adopted his own method – one that's simple, direct, and teachable – focusing on using text and imagination to get to the character. He explains how to find the essence of a character's behaviour, how actors can use their own fantasies to understand how a character might behave in any given moment. It is required reading at select colleges and universities.

What people say:

"A very clear and readable introduction to the nuts and bolts of acting and I think a really down-to-earth look at the art." – Robert Redford

"Allan Rich has found a way to put into words the insights and techniques that have made him such a fine and interesting actor." – Alan Alda

"The book is a wonderful guide to an actor building a mind. Simple yet very complete." – Jamie Lee Curtis

"I now understand what makes [Rich] the great actor that he is. He transcends technique, re-digesting and transforming life experience, knowledge and wisdom into a pool of resources from which the actor can draw." – Fran Drescher

"Allan introduced me to the craft of acting. He inspired, educated and encouraged. I shall be forever grateful." – Rene Russo

"The book presents an organic method that is filled with inside information. And, there is an added plus: it's fun to read." – Jack Lemmon

"I was fascinated by it's simplicity, common sense and its wisdom. It's also very comfortable reading." – Walter Matthau

About the Author:

Allan Rich (1926-2020) was an American actor, author, acting coach, and civil rights activist. He had more than 130 roles in television and film, ranging from Serpico and The Gambler to some of the 1970s' biggest TV shows and a memorable turn on Curb Your Enthusiasm. He also had supporting roles in four Broadway shows during the 1940s and 1950s before he was was caught up in the Hollywood Blacklist but went on to have a 50-year film and TV career.