- Julian Beck
name = Julian Beck
imagesize = 150px
caption = Julian Beck
(Photo: Charles Rotmil)
birthdate = birth date|1925|5|31
birthplace = Washington Heights,
deathdate = death date and age|1985|9|14|1925|5|31
New York City, New York
Film actor, director, poet, painter
Beck was born in the Washington Heights section of
Manhattanin New York City, the son of Mabel Lucille (née Blum), a teacher, and Irving Beck, a businessman. [ [http://www.filmreference.com/film/23/Julian-Beck.html Julian Beck Biography (1925-1925) ] ] He briefly attended Yale University, but dropped out to pursue writing and art. He was an Abstract Expressionist painter in the 1940s, but his career turned upon meeting his future wife. In 1943, he met Judith Malinaand quickly came to share her passion for theatre; they founded The Living Theatrein 1947.
Beck co-directed the Living Theater until his death. The group's primary influence was
Antonin Artaud, who espoused the Theatre of Cruelty, which was supposed to shock the audience out of complacency. This took different forms. In one example, from Jack Gelber's " The Connection", a drama about drug addiction, actors playing junkies wandered the audience demanding money for a fix.
The Living Theater moved out of New York in 1974, after the
Internal Revenue Serviceshut it down when Beck failed to pay $23,000 in back taxes. After a sensational trial, in which Beck and Malina represented themselves, they were found guilty by a jury.
Julian Beck's philosophy of theatre carried over into his life. He once said, "We insisted on experimentation that was an image for a changing society. If one can experiment in theatre, one can experiment in life." He was indicted a dozen times on three continents for charges such as
disorderly conduct, indecent exposure, possession of narcotics, and failing to participate in a civil defensedrill. Beck and Malina were life partners in an open marriage, and Beck had a long-term relationship with Ilion Troya, a male actor in the company.
Besides his theatre work, Beck published several volumes of
poetryreflecting his anarchist beliefs, two non-fiction books: "The life of the theater" and "Theandric," and had several filmappearances, with small roles in "Emergency", " Edipo Re," " The Cotton Club", " 9½ Weeks", Miami Vice(Prodigal Son), and a major role in "Poltergeist II". His intense, vivid film acting, such as his sadistic gangster in " The Cotton Club", gives an idea of what his stage acting was like.
Beck was diagnosed as having
stomach cancerin 1983, and died 2 years later at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York Cityat the age of 60. He was survived by his wife, a brother, and two children, Garrick and Isha. Beck was interred at Cedar Park Cemetery, in Emerson, New Jersey.
*"Julian Beck, 60, is dead; Founded Living Theater", by
Samuel G. Freedman, " New York Times", September 17, 1985
*imdb name|id=0065191|name=Julian Beck
* [http://www.nndb.com/people/789/000066591/ Julian Beck]
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