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B. Manley, 81; Actress Taught at CalArts

October 30, 2002|From a Times Staff Writer

Beatrice Manley, an actress, teacher and author who helped launch San Francisco's famed Actors Workshop, died Sept. 14 in Milwaukee. She was 81.

Manley was a founding member of the workshop, which was created by directors Herbert Blau and Jules Irving in 1952 and helped to revive regional theater in the United States.

Manley, who was married to Blau, appeared in the first West Coast productions by Actors Workshop of plays by Samuel Beckett, Jean Genet and Bertolt Brecht. She was the first American actress to perform the title role in Brecht's "Mother Courage."

Irving and the Blaus later moved to New York City and ran the Lincoln Center Repertory Company. Manley performed there in productions of Brecht's "The Caucasian Chalk Circle" and Georg Buchner's "Danton's Death."

She moved to Los Angeles in the early 1970s and spent much of that decade teaching acting at the California Institute of the Arts, where her students included Ed Harris and Paul Reubens.

She continued to appear on the stage, including starring in Beckett's "Rockaby/Footfalls," for which she received an L.A. Weekly award. She also was awarded an honorary doctor of arts degree by CalArts in 1990.

She was the author of two books on acting: "My Breath in Art: Acting from Within" and "The Actor's Dickens." She also wrote five plays, two librettos and a screenplay.

Manley was born in the Bronx, N.Y., and made her Broadway debut in 1941 in Maxwell Anderson's war play, "Eve of St. Mark."

Her first marriage was to painter Albert Freedberg. She moved to California in 1949 to take a fellowship as artist-in-residence at Stanford University, where she met Blau, a theater student. She was divorced from him in 1980.

Manley is survived by three children, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Bijou Theater at CalArts, 24700 McBean Parkway, Valencia.

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