Sandra Seacat

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Sandra Seacat
Born Sandra Diane Seacat
(1936-10-02) October 2, 1936 (age 81)
Greensburg, Kansas, U.S.
Other names Credited as Sandra Kaufman, her then-married name, before 1969
Occupation Acting teacher, actor, director
Years active 1962–present
Spouse(s) Michael Ebert (?–1978; divorced)[1][2]
Thurn Hoffman (?–present)
Children 1

Sandra Diane Seacat (born October 2, 1936)[3] is an American actress, director and acting coach best known for teaching stage-style method acting. Professionally known as Sandra Kaufman[4] before 1969,[4][a] she was the first of three daughters born to Russell Henry and Lois Marion Seacat in Greensburg, Kansas.[3][7][8]


Seacat began acting in theater in the early 1960s. After a summer-stock production of Leonid Andreyev's play The Waltz of the Dogs, The Village Voice described her as "destined to bring many future stages alive."[9]

She moved to New York and studied acting with actor/director Michael Howard, later becoming a member of the Actors Studio, where she studied method acting under Lee Strasberg, the studio's director.[10]

In the early 1970s, she taught at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, City College of New York's Leonard Davis Center for the Performing Arts, as a member of the Actors Studio, and she taught privately. Among her clients were Steve Railsback[11] and Mickey Rourke, who told New York Magazine that Seacat mentored him for six years.[12]

Beginning in the late 1970s, Seacat worked in both New York and Los Angeles,[13] coaching actors such as Jessica Lange in preparation for her role in the 1982 film Frances.[10][14][15] According to The New York Times, she helped pioneer the practice of dream work, where actors study and play characters from their dreams. She also taught the method to her daughter, Greta Seacat, who also became an acting coach. Seacat's clients Melanie Griffith and Gina Gershon publicly credited Seacat's use of the dream method with improving their craft.[16][17]

Also attending Seacat's classes was songwriter Desmond Child, a self-professed "fly on the wall" alongside Lange, Rourke, Michelle Pfeiffer and others. Speaking in 2018 with Music & Musicians, Child cites Seacat as an invaluable mentor, noting a correlation between Seacat's early efforts to connect text to actor and Child's later knack for matching song to singer. Child described Seacat's dictum with the artist as a "wounded healer" and the audience "a co-creator [who] heals through that process." "As songwriters," Child concurred, "we have a sacred job to help them connect."[18]

Acting teacher Alex Cole Taylor in 2010 told Backstage that he learned compassion for his students from Seacat.[19] CNN's Todd Leopold, in an article about acting coach Elizabeth Kemp, coupled Seacat with Lee Strasberg as "legendary acting coaches."[20]

In 2012 and 2013, Seacat was a faculty member at the annual Film Forum hosted by the University of Arkansas's Winthrop Rockefeller Institute, organized by fellow Actors Studio alumnus Robert Walden.[21][22]

She has commented over the years about actors she has trained, including Laura Dern, who thanked Seacat when she accepted a best actress award at the January 2012 Golden Globe Awards presentation.[23][24]

Other actors who have studied under Seacat include Chris Pine,[25] Marlo Thomas,[26] Lance Henriksen,[27] Harvey Keitel, Isabella Rossellini,[28][29] Rachel Ward,[15][30][31] Treat Williams,[32] Meg Ryan,[33] Michelle Pfeiffer,[34] Mikhail Baryshnikov,[35][36] Peter Falk[37] and Lynda Carter.[38]


Seacat directed one movie, In the Spirit, in 1990. In reviewing the film starring Marlo Thomas and Elaine May, The New York Times called it "a nervous new-age comedy more notable for good intentions than good luck."[39] The Boston Globe described the movie as "An Endearing Mess,"[40] The Washington Post headlined it a "Grand and Goofy Comedy,"[41] and the Los Angeles Times wrote that "Spirit Loses Its Comic Flair Halfway Through."[42] Variety, however, described the actors in the leading roles a "memorable screen odd couple."[43]

While In the Spirit was filming, the Los Angeles Times's Cinefile column covered Seacat's directorial debut, calling her an "acting guru."[44][45] Liz Smith wrote about the film in her gossip column.[46]

In August 2007, Seacat, with Jamie Wollrab, directed her daughter, Greta Seacat, along with others in Elizabeth Meriwether's play The Mistakes Madeline Made in Boulder at Colorado's Dairy Center for the Arts, starring Shannon Woodward, Justin Chatwin and Johnny Lewis.[47][48]



Year Title Role
1975 Night Moves Voice
1979 The Rose Reporter
1980 The Kidnapping of the President Henrietta Cown
1980 Jane Austen in Manhattan Thriftshop Lady
1982 Frances Drama Teacher
1983 The Golden Seal Gladys
1984 Country Louise Brewer
1987 Promised Land Mrs Rivers
1988 Wildfire Sissy
1990 In the Spirit Director
1993 Born Yesterday Thanks
1994 The New Age Mary Netter
1996 The Destiny of Marty Fine Woman on Beach
1998 The Baby Dance Doreen
1999 Crazy in Alabama Meemaw
2001 The Want Doctor
2001 Nailed Sandra the Midwife
2001 Daddy and Them Elbe
2003 Prey for Rock & Roll Mother
2003 In the Cut Creative consultant
2003 A Little Crazy Delphine
2004 In the Land of Milk and Money Mrs. Trevors
2004 Illusion The Boarding House Lady
2007 Fade Woman
2007 Tattered Angel Louise
2010 Sympathy for Delicious Mrs. Matilda
2010 You Don't Know Jack Janet Adkins
2012 Shale (short subject) Sheila
2012 The Time Being Annette
2013 Palo Alto Tanya
2014 Alex of Venice Sandra
2015 The Scarecrow (short subject) Janine
2016 Buster's Mal Heart Public Access Psychic
2017 The Strangeness You Feel (short subject) Jane


Year Title Role
1966 Directions '66 (TV series; one episode – 1966, 5 June) Not available (as Sandra Kaufman)
1976 First Ladies Diaries: Edith Wilson (TV movie) Helen
1978 "Fame" (Hallmark) (TV movie) Bess
1986 Nobody's Child (TV movie) Barbara
1991 Held Hostage: The Sis and Jerry Levin Story (TV movie) NA
1994 Reunion (TV movie) NA
1999 Mickey Rourke: The E! True Hollywood Story (TV documentary) Herself
2000 Intimate Portrait: Laura Dern (TV series documentary) Herself
2001 Biography: Jessica Lange, On Her Own Terms (TV series documentary) Herself
2008 The Dark Side of Fame with Piers Morgan: Mickey Rourke (TV series documentary) Herself
2011 Enlightened (TV series; two episodes – 2011, 10 and 17 October) Patricia
2013 Enlightened (One episode – 2013, 27 January) Patricia


  1. ^ Confusion about the spelling of Seacat's first name has arisen over the years, because of its counterintuitive pronunciation. Despite the conventional spelling, her name is properly pronounced somewhere between 'Sondra' and 'Saundra';[5] thus, on occasion, it has been misspelled accordingly, both in print and online.[6]


  1. ^ "California, Divorce Index, 1966–1984: Sandra D Seacat and Michael C Ebert, 1977,"
  2. ^ "California, Divorce Index, 1966–1984: Michael C Ebert and Sandra D, 1978,"
  3. ^ a b Willis, John (1980). Theatre World (1978–1979 season). 35. New York: Crown Publishing, Inc. p. 252. ISBN 0-517-53997-7. 
  4. ^ a b Giannetti, Louis D. Educational Theatre Journal. Volume 21, Number 1. March, 1969. pp. 110–111.
  5. ^ Excerpts from Rourke's appearances on Inside the Actors Studio and The Dark Side of Fame on YouTube.
  6. ^ Search results for "Sondra Seacat". See also:
  7. ^ "1940 U.S. Census form".
  8. ^ "Obituary: Lois Marion Seacat" Archived 2013-01-26 at December 23, 2007.
  9. ^ Tallmer, Jerry "Theatre: The Waltz of the Dogs". The Village Voice. August 2, 1962.
  10. ^ a b "Jessica Lange". Vanity Fair. October 1988.
  11. ^ "Film Forum Faculty" Archived 2012-05-08 at the Wayback Machine.. Winthrop Rockefeller Institute. U. of Arkansas System.
  12. ^ Allen, Jennifer: "Bad Boy: Actor Mickey Rourke is a hard case with a heart". New York Magazine. November 14, 1983.
  13. ^ "The Role of Their Dreams". The New York Times. May 6, 2009.
  14. ^ "Frances Farmer – The Making of Frances," from the book Jessica Lange – A Biography (1986) by J. T. Jeffries
  15. ^ a b Associated Press: "Casting Gamble in Thorn Birds". The Nashua Telegraph. March 29, 1983.
  16. ^ Goldstein, Patrick: "Many-Sided Melanie Griffith". The Los Angeles Times. November 10, 1986.
  17. ^ "I Dream of Gina" Archived 2016-11-28 at the Wayback Machine.. Cigar Aficionado, September/October 1998.
  18. ^ "Songwriter Desmond Child: Video Feature and Web-Exclusive Interview". Music & Musicians. April 2018.
  19. ^ "L.A. Readers' Choice: Classes and Coaches". Backstage. June 23, 2010.
  20. ^ "Actress' role of a lifetime: Being a mentor". CNN. February 13, 2012.
  21. ^ Bell, Robert. "Thursday To-Do: Winthrop Rockefeller Institute Film Forum". The Arkansas Times. March 7, 2012.
  22. ^ "Winthrop Rockefeller Institute to Host Second Annual Film Forum". PR Web. January 4, 2013.
  23. ^ "Laura Dern Wins Best Actress TV Series Comedy Or Musical". Golden Globes 2012.
  24. ^ "Laura Dern: A Hollywood Old-Timer at 37". The Baltimore Sun. August 23, 2004.
  25. ^ "The Self-Aware Artist". Backstage. June 15, 2009.
  26. ^ Thomas, Marlo (2010). "Obsession". Growing Up Laughing: My Story and the Story of Funny. New York: Hyperion. p. 210. ISBN 0-13-367870-9. I only wish Lee [Strasberg] could have lived to see me portray a schizophrenic in Nobody's Child. I never could have gotten near playing that kind of part without Lee's exercises, and the subsequent work I did and continue to do with his primary disciple, the brilliant Sandra Seacat. 
  27. ^ Smith, Gavin: "Don't Let That Go: That's Valuable". Film Comment. September/October 1993. Vol. 29 Issue 5, p. 54.
  28. ^ Kolson, Ann: "Isabella Rossellini: No Comparisons". The Pittsburgh Press. December 22, 1985.
  29. ^ Cook, Bruce: "Isabella Rossellini: A Rose Who Has Known Thorns". Chicago Tribune. November 28, 1985.
  30. ^ Wilkins, William: "'Thorn Birds' Star Enthused: Chamberlain Role Pursuit Succeeds". The Oxnard Press-Courier. March 27, 1983.
  31. ^ Preston, Marilynn: "Tempo: 'Thorn Birds' gives Ward chance to win her wings". The Chicago Tribune. March 29, 1983.
  32. ^ Robbins, Jane Marla (2002). "Relaxation". Acting Techniques for Everyday Life: Look and Feel Self-Confident in Difficult Real-Life Situations. New York: Marlowe & Company. p. 57. ISBN 1-56924-554-1. 
  33. ^ "Campion, Jane: In the Cut". Australia:Urban Cinefile. November 13, 2003.
  34. ^ Lipton, James (2007). Inside Inside. New York: Dutton. ISBN 0-525-95035-4. 
  35. ^ Reuters: "Baryshnikov natural for movie". The Windsor Star. December 18, 1985.
  36. ^ Kriegsman, Alan M.: "The Screening of Baryshnikov: From the Ballet Stage to a Cinematic Star Turn". The Washington Post. December 6, 1985.
  37. ^ Lipton, Peggy; Dalton, David and Coco (2005). "Ch. 67. Gurumayi". Breathing Out. New York: St. Martin's Press. pp. 240–242. ISBN 0-312-32413-8. 
  38. ^ "Carter tackles the wonders of history". USA Today. August 15, 1994. "[S]he started commuting to New York to meet with acting coach Sandra Seacat, who also works with Melanie Griffith, Marlo Thomas and Tatum O'Neal. 'The experience was "better than any therapist,' she says. 'You strip yourself of ego, and the whole experience unearths all your analytical feelings and self-discovery.'"
  39. ^ "Movie review: In the Spirit". The New York Times. April 6, 1990.
  40. ^ "In the Spirit – An Endearing Mess". The Boston Globe. June 8, 1990.
  41. ^ "Grand and Goofy Comedy". The Washington Post. May 18, 1990.
  42. ^ "Spirit Loses Its Comic Flair Halfway Through". Los Angeles Times. April 11, 1990.
  43. ^ "In the Spirit". Variety. December 31, 1989.
  44. ^ Cinefile: "Acting guru Sondra Seacat makes film directing debut with In the Spirit". Los Angeles Times. June 26, 1988.
  45. ^ "In the Spirit production notes". The New York Times.
  46. ^ "Churchill Book is Good Reading". The Sarasota Herald-Tribune. December 6, 1988.
  47. ^ "Hollywood Actors come to Boulder" Archived 2013-01-21 at Denver Post. July 29, 2007.
  48. ^ "Review: The Mistakes Madeline Made". The Boulder Daily Camera. August 9, 2007.

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