EPSTEIN, ALVIN


EPSTEIN, ALVIN (1925– ), U.S. actor. Born in the Bronx, New York, Epstein acted with a U.S. Army company in Europe after World War II, then joined the French Mime Theater and toured Europe. He joined the Habimah Theater, Israel, in 1953. He spent three years in Israel – the first one devoted to learning Hebrew. During the following two years he played 11 roles, gaining invaluable experience working with many well-trained actors who had come from the Moscow Art Theater School. He subsequently played in New York and on tour, his roles including Lucky in Waiting for Godot, Feste in Twelfth Night, the title role in Pirandello's Henry IV, Shabelsky in Ivanov, and Lee Strasberg in Nobody Dies on Friday.

Epstein served as artistic director of the Guthrie Theater and, for almost 25 years, he was the associate director of the Yale Repertory Theater. He also taught acting at the ART/MXAT Institute (Institute for Advanced Theater Training).

Epstein performed throughout the United States, staging over 20 productions and performing in over 100. His Broadway and off-Broadway credits include his debut with former fellow student Marcel *Marceau, as well as roles in Orson Welles' King Lear, The Threepenny Opera (co-starring with rock star Sting), the world premiere of When the World Was Green (A Chef's Fable), and Tuesdays with Morrie. For 20 years Epstein and Martha Schlamme performed A Kurt Weill Cabaret on tour in the U.S. and South America, with a year's run on Broadway.

Epstein reprised the role of Lucky in the 1961 TV movie version of Waiting for Godot. He also played in the TV series The Doctors (1981) and appeared in the TV movie Doing Life (1986). On the big screen, he had a role in Never Met Picasso (1996) and Alma Mater (2002). Epstein also lent his voice to the films Everybody Rides the Carousel (1975) and Beauty and the Beast (1991).

In 2004 he became involved with the Colleagues Theater Company in New York. Founded in 1996 by Catherine Wolf, its aim is to "identify and develop performance opportunities for the mature and seasoned actor and to provide training opportunities in theatrical craftsmanship for gifted high school graduates from underserved communities." Epstein appeared in the CTC's productions of The Mad Woman of Chaillot; 24 Evenings of Wit and Wisdom; and Tasting Memories.

[Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]


Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.