We lost a friend, mentor, and inspiration this week in Harry Mastrogeorge. Harry was a beloved acting coach who first began teaching the craft in 1956. In the past 70 years, he has worked with a number of notable performers: Robert Redford, Bryan Cranston, and Elle Fanning, just to name a few. At the age of 92, he was still continuing to mentor young actors! He directed episodes for classic TV shows like Miami Vice and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. We were fortunate to talk with Harry and preserve some of his acting wisdom on camera. His advice will surely remain a resource for generations of actors in the next eight decades. He also told us some pretty great stories, including this one about spending time with John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands.
As an acting teacher, Harry rejected the classic methods that were so trendy when he began teaching. Instead, he urged his performers to tap into their imaginations when bringing characters to life. For Harry, imagining the inner life of a character was more important than being the character on set for an entire production. His heterodox theory of acting remains a vital counterpoint in the debate between the different methods and approaches. We are certain his words will continue to inspire actors even after he’s gone.
For more about Harry and his incredible life, visit his official website. You can also watch more of our conversation with Harry in this series at HV. There’s also a profile of Harry on our sister site WatchMeetMake.