Andre Gregory

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Andre Gregory
Born (1934-05-11) May 11, 1934 (age 80)
Paris, France
Occupation Actor, Director, Writer
Spouse(s) Mercedes "Chiquita" Nebelthau (1936–1992; her death)
Cindy Kleine (2000–present)

Andre William Gregory (born May 11, 1934) is an American theatre director, writer and actor. His latest film is A Master Builder based on the 19th century play by Henrik Ibsen.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Gregory was born in Paris, France, to Russian Jewish parents.[2][3] Gregory studied at Harvard University, where he was affiliated with Adams House.

During the 1960s and 1970s, Gregory directed a number of avant-garde productions developed through ensemble collaboration, the most famous of which was Alice in Wonderland (1970), based on Lewis Carroll's two classic Alice books. In the course of these experiments, he founded his own theatrical company, The Manhattan Project (1968). In 1975 he directed Our Late Night, the first produced play by Wallace Shawn, which began a long working relationship between the two. Shortly afterward, Gregory's growing misgivings about the role of theatre in modern life, and what he felt was a trend toward fascism in the United States, led him to abandon theatre abruptly and leave the country. As described in My Dinner with Andre, he traveled to Poland on an invitation from Jerzy Grotowski, developed a number of experimental theatrical events for private audiences, and then spent several years in a variety of esoteric spiritual communities (such as Findhorn) developing an interest in what could be described as New Age beliefs.

Although he left the theatre in 1975, Gregory has returned several times to direct small productions, usually for invited audiences. These included a long-running workshop of Uncle Vanya (adapted by David Mamet) which was developed from 1990 to 1994 and featured Wallace Shawn and Julianne Moore. Though never publicly performed, it was released as the film Vanya on 42nd Street by Gregory and Louis Malle. Gregory also directed a radio production of Shawn's play The Designated Mourner in 2002.

He has had occasional film roles as a character actor, including John the Baptist in The Last Temptation of Christ and Reverend Spellgood in The Mosquito Coast. But his best-known film appearance was as the title character in My Dinner with Andre, directed by Louis Malle, in which he and Wallace Shawn, playing characters based on themselves, discussed Gregory's spiritual sojourn in Europe and his doubts about the future of theatre and of Western civilization in general. Gregory also appeared as himself in Malle's film Vanya on 42nd Street, which documented his Uncle Vanya production. In 1988 he played the father in Some Girls with Jennifer Connelly and Patrick Dempsey. In 1993, he also performed in the movie Demolition Man with Sylvester Stallone, as well as with Goldie Hawn in Protocol, released in 1984.

He directed Wallace Shawn's play Grasses of a Thousand Colors, which premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in London in May 2009 and then worked with Shawn on a new version of Ibsen's The Master Builder.[4] This resulted in the 2013 film Fear of Falling which was directed by Jonathan Demme. The film was retitled A Master Builder at its opening in New York in June 2014.

In 2013, he will direct Grasses of a Thousand Colors and The Designated Mourner starring Shawn in a co-production between Theatre for a New Audience and The Public Theater.[5]

A 2013 documentary about Mr. Gregory's life, called Before and After Dinner, was directed by his wife, Cindy Kleine. He and his wife discussed it on the May 3, 2013 Charlie Rose show.

By his first wife, the former Mercedes "Chiquita" Nebelthau, a documentary filmmaker, he has two children: Nicholas and Marina.[6]


External links[edit]