“The highest and final aim of every true artist, whatever his particular branch of art, maybe defined as the desire to express himself freely and completely.” Michael Chekhov, ‘To the Actor’
Michael Aleksandrovich Chekhov was born in St. Petersburg in 1891. Stanislavsky recognised his genius and appointed him head of the Second Moscow Art Theatre, where Chekhov started to develop his innovative acting techniques. A star on Russia he was forced to flee to avoid assasination by the new Soviet Regime.
Chekhov then spent 10 years in Europe, acting, directing and creating a school to experiment with his vision of the theatre. World War ll forced him to emigrate to America where he taught many actors in the 1940s and 1950s. He himself was nominated for an acting “Oscar” in Hitchcock’s “Spellbound”.
Chekhov's influence is evident in stars as varied as Ingrid Bergman, Loyd Bridges, Yul Brynner, Clint Eastwood, Gary Cooper, Anthony Hopkins, Marilyn Monroe, Jack Nicholson, Jack Palance and Anthony Quinn. Today the Chekhov approach is “Hollywood's best kept secret”.
Michael Chekhov died in Hollywood in 1955 having spent his whole life creating a complete and radical approach to acting.