Irene Gilbert

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Irene Gilbert (August 25, 1934 – May 21, 2011) was a German-born American actress and school director, who co-founded the Stella Adler Academy in Los Angeles with actress Joanne Linville in 1985.[1] She also served as the Academy's director for approximately 20 years after the school's establishment.[1][2]

Gilbert was born Irene Liebert in Germany on August 25, 1934.[1] She immigrated to New York City with her parents, Gaston and Lucie Liebert, just before the outbreak of World War II.[1] Her parents were killed by a drunk driver when she was just five years old.[1] She was raised by her aunt and her four older brothers.[1]

She changed to name to Irene Gilbert when she began her acting career, because she reportedly felt that Gilbert seemed "movie-star-esque."[1] Her acting career extended into the late 1980s. Her television credits included roles in Cannon, Barnaby Jones and Emergency! in the 1970s.[1]

Gilbert became friends with New York City-based acting coach, Stella Adler, during the 1960s.[1] In 1985, Gilbert and actress Joanne Linville pursued Adler to open a branch of the Stella Adler Academy in Los Angeles.[1] Gilbert, Linville and Adler are considered the school's co-founders.[1] Gilbert who also serve as the school's director for twenty years.[1]

A fire at the school, which was originally located in a small theater at Hollywood Boulevard and Argyle Avenue, forced the school's temporary closure in 1991.[1] The school's building was further threatened with demolition to make way for a proposed subway line at the time of Stellar Adler's death in 1992.[1]

Gilbert moved and reopened the school in 1994 at a building which was once the Embassy Club, a private club during the 1930s located at Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue.[1] She continued to teach acting at the school and produce stage productions. The Steallar Academy of Acting and Theater in Los Angeles has named one of its theaters, the Irene Gilbert Theatre, in honor of her contributions.[1]

Irene Gilbert died at her son's home in Eureka, California, of complications from Alzheimer's disease on May 21, 2011, at the age of 76.[2] She was survived by her son, Randall Garrett Herzon.[1]

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