MICHAEL CHEKHOV (1891-1955)
Mikhail Aleksandrovich Chekhov was born in St. Petersburg, Russia in August 1891. His father, Aleksandr was the brother of the great playwright Anton Chekhov. In 1912, Chekhov became a leading actor of the Moscow Arts Theater, studying Stanislavski’s new methods of ‘affective memory’. Chekhov became Stanislavski’s ‘most brilliant pupil’. By 1918 Chekhov began to investigate Rudolf Steiner’s spiritual science through his friend, writer Andrei Bely. Chekhov began incorporating some of Steiner’s philosophies in his work. He began to create his own acting technique. In 1922 he became head of the First Studio of the Moscow Art Theater. He left Russia in 1928 and travelled Europe staging many productions. In 1935 he put together a company of Russian actors to tour the United States, there he met Beatrice Straight and Deirdre Hurst du Prey. In 1936, they invited him to establish a theatre course in Dartington Hall in Devon, England. In 1938 he moved to Connecticut, United States and set up a new school for actors. During the forties Chekhov acted in Hollywood movies such as Hitchcock’s ‘Spellbound’, for which he was nominated for an Oscar. His students later included Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn, Jack Palance and Marilyn Monroe. Chekhov died on September 30th 1955 in Hollywood.