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Boleslavsky, Richard Valentinovich (04 February 1889–17 January 1937), acting teacher, stage and film director, actor, and author, was born Boleslaw Ryszard Srzednicki in Plock, Poland, the son of Valentine Srzednicki, a landowner, and Pani (maiden name unknown). When the family estate was lost, the Srzednickis relocated to South Bessarabia and then to Odessa, where Boleslaw received his education at the Polytechnic Institute of Odessa and the University of Odessa. He joined an amateur theater group in Odessa called the Polish Hearth, which he administered during his college days, in addition to performing leading roles. His first professional acting engagement was with a Russian troupe, sometime around 1904; his career began to flourish in 1908, when he was fully accepted as a student at the Moscow Art Theatre (MAT) and almost immediately was admitted into the acting company. Richard Valentinovich Boleslavsky was his stage name, and he retained it when he immigrated to the United States in 1922....

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Strasberg, Lee (17 November 1901–17 February 1982), acting teacher, was born Israel Strassberg in Budanov, Austria-Hungary (now Russia), the son of Baruch Meyer Strasberg, a garment worker, and Ida Diner. Strasberg’s father and older siblings immigrated to the United States in 1904; the rest of the family followed in 1908 and settled on the Lower East Side of New York City. Lee’s participation in theater began as a child when he performed with the Progressive Dramatic Club, an amateur Yiddish theater group. He dropped out of high school after his sophomore year when his younger brother died of influenza. To help support the family, Lee took a job as a clerk with a wig manufacturing company, eventually becoming a partner in the firm....