Lee Strasberg was an Austrian born American actor, director and acting teacher. He cofounded, with directors Harold Clurman and Cheryl Crawford, the Group Theatre in 1931, which was hailed as "America's first true theatrical collective". In 1951, he became director of the non-profit Actors Studio, in New York City, considered "the nation's most prestigious acting school", and in 1966, was involved in the creation of Actors Studio West in Los Angeles.
Although other highly regarded teachers have also taught "The Method", it is Strasberg who is considered the "father of method acting in America," according to author Mel Gussow, and from the 1920s until his death in 1982 "he revolutionized the art of acting by having a profound influence on performance in American theater and movies". From his base in New York, he trained several generations of theatre and film's most illustrious talents, including Barbra Streisand, Anne Bancroft, Dustin Hoffman, Montgomery Clift, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Jane Fonda, Julie Harris, Paul Newman, Ellen Burstyn, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro and director Elia Kazan.