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Uta Hagen Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trivia (24) | Personal Quotes (1)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 12 June 1919Göttingen, Lower Saxony, Germany
Date of Death 1 January 2004Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA
Birth NameUta Thyra Hagen

Mini Bio (1)

Noted stage actress who has also done limited work in TV and film. Born in Germany and raised in Madison, Wisconsin, she studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. Her Broadway debut was in "The Seagull" in 1938. She won her first Tony (and other awards) in 1950 for Clifford Odets "The Country Girl". Her second Tony was for the role of Martha in Edward Albee's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?". Since 1957, she has been teaching at the Herbert Berghof (her late husband) Studio in New York City's Greenwich Village. Recent Off-Broadway appearances include "Mrs. Klein" in 1995-1996 and "Collected Stories" in 1998.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Herman Seifer <alagain@aol.com>

Spouse (2)

Herbert Berghof (25 January 1957 - 5 November 1990) (his death)
José Ferrer (8 December 1938 - 14 June 1948) (divorced) (1 child)

Trivia (24)

Received the Women's International Center (WIC) Living Legacy Award in 1994.
After husband/coach Herbert Berghof died in 1990, she took over the chairmanship of HB Studios and the theatre of the HB Playwrights Foundation.
Among her many illustrious awards: Theatre Hall of Fame (1981), the Mayor's Liberty Bell (1986), and the John Houseman Award (1987) for distinguished service.
One child with José Ferrer, Leticia Thyra Ferrer, born on October 15, 1940 in New York. In Uta Hagen's autobiography "Sources: A Memoir," her daughter's first name "Leticia" stood for happiness, and her second name "Thyra" is from the name of Uta's mother.
Acting lessons were given by her to Robert De Niro, Liza Minnelli and Al Pacino (among others).
Received a (USA) National Medal of Arts, 2002.
She and then-husband José Ferrer co-starred with Paul Robeson in Othello in 1943-1944. Allegations that their association with the left-wing Robeson cast them under suspicion of having Communist ties during the McCarthy era, are completely false. Rumor was she was never able to forge a film career until the 70s due to the Robeson association, however, although opportunity presented itself, she had no film career before the McCarthy era, and Ferrer's career never suffered from the friendship with Robeson. She was quite happy with her stage appearances and teaching.
In 1999, she won a third Tony, a lifetime special achievement award.
Awarded a National Medal of the Arts at the White House by President Bush in March 2003.
Played Ophelia opposite Eva Le Gallienne's Hamlet in a Massachusetts production in 1936.
Reprised her signature role of Martha in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at the age of 80 to wonderful reviews. A year later, she gave her last performance on stage at the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood, California on August 21, 2001, playing opposite David Hyde Pierce in Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks.
Wrote a cook book entitled "Love for Cooking."
Suffered a stroke in October of 2001.
Made an auspicious film debut as the grandmother in Tom Tryon's eerie best-seller The Other (1972) at the age of 53.
Has received three Tony Awards: two as Best Actress (Dramatic), in 1951 for "The Country Girl" and in 1963 for "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?," and, in 1999, a Special Lifetime Achievement Tony Award.
The roles for which she won Tony Awards for Best Actress earned Academy Awards for other actresses: Grace Kelly as Georgie Elgin in Country Girl (1936) and Elizabeth Taylor as Martha in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966).
Her father is Dr. Oskar Frank Leonard Hagen, an art historian, musicologist, composer, conductor, Handel authority, and professor of the history of art at the University of Goettingen and the University of Wisconsin. Her mother is Thyra Araalie Leisner, an opera singer. Uta is also the sister of Holger Hagen and sister-in-law of Bruni Löbel.
Won a 1999 Special Tony Award (New York City) lifetime achievement award.
Her last name, of German descent, is pronounced "Haugen" (rhymes with "noggin").
Of Welsh-German ancestry on her father's side and Danish on her mother's side.
She has a granddaughter, Teresa Teuscher Biefeldt, and a great-granddaughter, Thyra Bielfeldt.
Her father named her after a famous statue in the Naumburg Cathedral titled Ute.
With Haskel Frankel, Uta wrote "Respect for Acting", considered one of the most significant book on acting. It remains in print and a consistent seller.
New York [January 2003]

Personal Quotes (1)

Nobody ever learns how [to act]. The search for human behavior is infinite. You'll never understand it all. I think that's wonderful.

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