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Chekhov, Mikhail Alexandrovich “Michael”


Chekhov, Mikhail Alexandrovich “Michael” (1891-1955), nephew of playwright Anton Chekhov, was native of Russia where, by 21, he was a noted actor; by 1923, a director at the Moscow Art Theatre, but his innovative methods led Communists to label him “alien and reactionary”; he moved to Germany and then England, establishing a well-respected method of training actors at a school there; in 1939, as war broke out, moved his Chekhov Theatre Studio from England to former Ridgefield School at north end of Lake Mamanasco; made his first appearance in an English-speaking role in public in a Russian War Relief dramatic program on old Ridgefield High School stage (now the Ridgefield Playhouse); ca. 1941 moved to Hollywood where he taught and acted in films – his role of the psychoanalyst in Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound earned Academy Award nomination; among his students were Marilyn Monroe, Jack Palance, Anthony Quinn, Yul Brynner, Gregory Peck, and Akim Tamiroff; school lives on today as the Chekhov Theatre Ensemble in New York City.  

From Jack Sanders, Who Was Who in Ridgefield.


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