Alvin Epstein (May 14, 1925 – December 10, 2018) was an American actor and director. He was a founding member of both the American Repertory Theater and Yale Repertory Theatre. He was particularly admired for his performances in the plays of Samuel Beckett. He also served as Artistic Director at the Guthrie Theater.
Life and career
Born in the Bronx, Epstein was the son of Harry Epstein, a physician, and his wife Goldie Epstein (née Rudnick). He graduated from the High School of Music & Art in Manhattan and the Queens College, City University of New York. After serving in the United States Army during World War II in Germany, he studied dance in New York with Martha Graham and mime in Paris. His early performances in New York City included appearing in mimes with Marcel Marceau. In 1956 he made his Broadway debut as the Fool in Orson Welles’ 1956 production of William Shakespear's King Lear. That same year he portrayed the slave Lucky in the Broadway premiere of Beckett’s Waiting for Godot.
Epstein continued to appear in many productions of Beckett's plays, including Clov, the servant, in the United States premiere of Endgame in 1958. He portrayed two more characters in that play during his career: Hamm, Clov’s tyrannical blind master, in a 1984 Off-Broadway production that he also directed, at the Samuel Beckett Theater; and Hamm’s aged father, Nagg, who lives in a garbage can, performed at the Irish Repertory Theatre in Manhattan in 2005 and again, in 2008, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
|1976||Everybody Rides the Carousel||Narrator|
|1991||Beauty and the Beast||Bookseller|
|Age Isn't Everything|
|1996||Never Met Picasso||Uncle Alfred|
|2002||Alma Mater||Leonard Carver|
|2003||Psychoanalysis Changed My Life||Otto Zurmer|
|2004||Beacon Hill||Preston Brooks|
|2008||Synecdoche, New York||Man With Nose Bleed|
|We Pedal Uphill||Mortimer|
|2016||Year by the Sea||Erik Erikson|
|1956||Omnibus||Segment: Androcles and the Lion|
|1959||The Further Adventures of Ellery Queen||Elwood Parker||Episode: "The Paper Tigers"|
|1960||Armstrong Circle Theatre||Reinhard Heydrich||Episode: "Engineer of Death: The Eichmann Story"|
|1961||Naked City||Elliot Kesbek||Episode: "The Fault In Our Stars"|
|1961||Play of the Week||Lucky||Episode: "Waiting for Godot"|
|1961||Play of the Week||Camille||Episode: "Therese Raquin"|
|1961||Great Ghost Tales||Dr. Kaplan||Episode: "Who Is the Fairest One of All?"|
|1963||The Doctors||Philip Manning|
|1964||Mr. Broadway||Chauvigny||Episode: "Maggie, Queen of the Jungle"|
|1969||NET Playhouse||Ensemble Member||Episode: Story Theatre|
|1986||Doing Life||Lou Rosenberg|
|1990||Law & Order||Dr. Chester||Episode: "Prescription for Death"|
|2004||Law & Order||Stuart Rubin||Episode: "City Hall"|
|2012||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Harold Lassiter||Episode: "Lessons Learned"|
|2015||My America||Elderly Veteran||Episode: "Roosevelt Island"|
- Nottle, Diane (December 11, 2018). "Alvin Epstein, Actor, Director and Master of Beckett, Dies at 93". The New York Times.
- McPhee, Ryan (December 11, 2018). "Alvin Epstein, a Frequent Interpreter of Samuel Beckett, Dies at 93". Playbill.