Michael Howard (actor)

Michael Howard (actor)
Michael Howard
Born April 23, 1923(1923-04-23)
New York City, New York
Spouse Betty Bartelt Howard

Michael Howard (born April 23, 1923) is an American actor, director, and master teacher, and founder of Michael Howard Studios in New York City.


Early life

Mr. Howard was born Robert Horowitz April 23, 1923 on the east side of Manhattan at the Salvation Army Hospital on 16th Street to Gertrude Lang and George Horowitz. His father changed the family name to Howard in 1925. He was raised by his mother at various locations on Manhattan's Upper West Side.

In 1939, as a 16 year old high school student, he enrolled in the New Theater School, an offshoot of the renowned Group Theater. That year he made his professional debut, appearing in the company’s production of “Zero Hour”.

Upon graduation from DeWitt Clinton High School in 1941, he moved to Greenwich Village and joined a group of young actors and musicians. He was offered and accepted a scholarship to attend The Neighborhood Playhouse where he studied with such influential teachers as Sanford Meisner, Martha Graham, Louis Horst, and David Pressman

Military service

Soon after finishing his training at the Neighborhood Playhouse, Howard enlisted in the Army and joined the US parachute troops. He attended jump school and was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division. He was overseas for twenty months and served in three combat zones including Belgium during The Battle of the Bulge. Towards the end of the conflict, he was transferred to the 82nd Airborne Division and sent to Berlin as part of the occupation force. While there, he was invited to join The Armed Forces Network. He worked with AFN-Berlin until his return home in 1945.

Theatrical career

Mr. Howard joined Actors Equity in 1947. There was already a Robert Howard in the union so it was at this point that he changed his name to Michael Howard. He went on to appear on Broadway in the world premiere of Clifford Odets’ “The Country Girl”, off Broadway in Ionesco’s “Victims of Duty”, with Joseph Chaiken, and in hundreds of roles in summer and winter stock, repertory companies, regional theaters, television and film. His film credits include John Patrick Shanley’s “Five Corners” in which he appeared opposite John Turturro.

As a director, he was a pioneer of the Off-Broadway movement, beginning his career in 1954 with New Stages and the Greenwich Muse Theatre. His credits include the American premiere of Leonid Andreyev’s “The Waltz of the Dogs”, the world premier of “Time of Storm” by Sheldon Stark, and Lofton Mitchell’s “Land Beyond the River”, which in 1956 was the first modern play by an African-American writer about the civil rights movement. On Broadway, he directed “The Troublemakers” by George Belak and the Theater Guild’s production of Eleanor Perry’s “The Third Best Sport” which starred Celeste Holm. Mr. Howard was the founding Artistic Director of an Atlanta-based company which planned to produce theater, opera and ballet where he directed the landmark production of John Dryden and Henry Purcell’s opera “Masque King Arthur”. He also directed fifteen productions as the first Artistic Director of the Alliance Theater company.

His first teaching experience was during the early years of the famed High School of the Performing Arts where he joined Sidney Lumet as an acting instructor in 1951. He would go on to teach at Yale University, Boston University, North Carolina School of the Arts, Princeton University, Columbia University/Barnard College, the Juilliard School and at his own Michael Howard Studios.

Michael Howard Studios

Mr. Howard’s primary teaching concentration has been the Michael Howard Studios which began in 1953 when a group of actors asked him to lead their sessions. The studio is a professional training center which encourages actors to explore various methods and tools in order to develop their own individual technique. Mr. Howard continues to teach at the studio which is now in its fifth decade of actor training. In honor of the Studio’s contribution to New York’s rich theatrical history, Mayor Michael Bloomberg proclaimed May 4, 2009 to be Michael Howard Studios Day.

Personal life

Mr. Howard met his wife Betty Bartelt one week after being discharged from the Army in December 1945. They were married in September 1946 and have two children, Christopher and Matthew and two grandchildren, Lucas and Clea.

Notable Connections

Among America’s most important theatrical figures with whom Michael has worked as an actor, director and teacher are: Charlton Heston, Uta Hagen, Celeste Holm, Olympia Dukakis, Kelsey Grammer, Terry Schreiber, William Ball, Michael Kahn, Richard Warner, Joe Van Fleet, Jason Robards Jr, Tom Poston, and Scott Evans.


"The absolute essence of what we do as actors is to reveal ourselves. That particular part of ourselves that best illuminates the text."

"What is important is not the answers but the questions"

"It is not about natural. It is about truth."


Michael Howard Studio Website
An Actor's Guide
WOR News Talk Radio - Community Concerns 11.17.08
Taped Lecture @ Michael Howard Studios 07.08

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