Susan Strasberg

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Susan Strasberg
1973 Susan Strasberg.jpg
1973 promotional image of Mannix
Born Susan Elizabeth Strasberg
May 22, 1938
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died January 21, 1999(1999-01-21) (aged 60)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Cause of death Breast cancer
Nationality American
Occupation Actress
Years active 1953–1992
Spouse(s) Christopher Jones (m. 1965; div. 1968)
Children 1
Parent(s) Lee Strasberg
Paula Strasberg
Relatives John Strasberg (brother)

Susan Elizabeth Strasberg (May 22, 1938 – January 21, 1999) was an American stage, film, and television actress.

Background and acting career[edit]

Strasberg was born in New York City, the daughter of theatre director and drama coach Lee Strasberg of the Actors Studio and former actress Paula Strasberg. Her brother, John, is an acting coach. Her parents were both from Jewish families who emigrated from Europe.

Strasberg in the 1950s.

After a widely praised performance as a teenager in Picnic, Strasberg originated the title role in the Broadway production of The Diary of Anne Frank and was nominated for a Tony Award at the age of 18. Strasberg became the youngest actress to star on Broadway with her name above the marquee title. In 1955, she appeared on the cover of Newsweek (December 19, 1955 issue) and twice on the cover of Life (July 11, 1955 issue; November 11, 1955 issue). She later starred in the Italian Holocaust film Kapò which was nominated for an Academy Award as best foreign film of 1960.

From the 1960s through the 1980s, she guest-starred in such television series as The Virginian, The Invaders, Bonanza, The F.B.I., Breaking Point, Burke's Law, The Streets of San Francisco, Night Gallery, McCloud, Alias Smith & Jones, The Big Valley, Remington Steele, and The Rockford Files (twice, as Deborah Ryder and as Karen Stiles, Rockford's ex-girlfriend). She lived in Italy in the early 1960s, where she was often called 'La Strasberg'. In 1993, she was a jury member for the 43rd Berlin International Film Festival.[1]


Strasberg wrote two best-selling books. Bittersweet was an autobiography in which she wrote about her tumultuous relationships with her parents and with actors Richard Burton and Christopher Jones, as well as with her own daughter's struggles with a heart defect. Marilyn and Me: Sisters, Rivals, Friends was about Strasberg's friendship with Marilyn Monroe, whom she called a "surrogate sister" and a "member" of the Strasberg family for many years.[2] Strasberg was working on a third book about her personal spiritual journey at the time of her death entitled Confessions of a New Age Heretic.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Before her marriage, Strasberg had relationships with Warren Beatty, Cary Grant, and Richard Burton.[4]

On September 25, 1965, Strasberg married actor Christopher Jones, with whom she had appeared in an episode of The Legend of Jesse James. Their daughter, Jennifer Robin, was born six months later. The couple divorced in 1968.[5]


Strasberg was diagnosed with breast cancer in the mid-1990s. She died of the disease at her home in New York City on January 21, 1999, at the age of 60.[6]


  • The Cobweb (1955) as Sue Brett
  • Picnic (1955) as Millie Owens
  • 1955 Motion Picture Theatre Celebration (1955) (short subject)
  • Stage Struck (1958) as Eva Lovelace
  • Kapò (1960) as Edith, alias Nicole Niepas
  • Scream of Fear (1961) as Penny Appleby
  • Disorder (1962) as Isabella
  • Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man (1962) as Rosanna
  • The Shortest Day (1962) (uncredited)
  • The High Bright Sun (1965) as Juno Kozani
  • The Invaders, [Series 1 Episode 8, Quantity Unknown] (1967) as Diane Oberly
  • Chubasco (1967) as Bunny
  • The Trip (1967) as Sally Groves
  • Psych-Out (1968) as Jenny Davis
  • The Name of the Game Is Kill (1968) as Mickey Terry
  • The Brotherhood (1968) as Emma Ginetta
  • The Sisters (1969) as Martha
  • Sweet Hunters (1969) as Lis
  • McCloud (1970) as Lorraine / Annette Bardege
  • The Night Gallery (1971-1973) (full episode) as Sheila Trent / Ruth Asquith (segment "Midnight Never Ends")
  • The Other Side of the Wind (1972) (unfinished)
  • The Legend of Hillbilly John (1972) as Polly Wiltse
  • And Millions Will Die (1973) as Heather Kessler
  • The Rockford Files, The Countess (1974) as Deborah Ryder
  • So Evil, My Sister (1974) as Brenda
  • McMillan and Wife (1974) as Virginia Ryan
  • Sammy Somebody (1976)
  • The Stronger (1976) (short subject)
  • Rollercoaster (1977) as Fran
  • Tre soldi e la donna di classe (1977)
  • The Manitou (1978) as Karen Tandy
  • In Praise of Older Women (1978) as Bobbie
  • Acting: Lee Strasberg and the Actors Studio (1981) (documentary)
  • Bloody Birthday (1981) as Miss Viola Davis
  • Mazes and Monsters (1982) as Meg
  • Sweet Sixteen (1983) as Joanne Morgan
  • The Returning (1983) as Sybil Ophir
  • The Delta Force (1986) as Debra Levine
  • Remembering Marilyn (1987) (documentary)
  • Marilyn Monroe: Beyond the Legend (1987) (documentary)
  • The Runnin' Kind (1989) as Carol Curtis
  • Prime Suspect (1989) as Dr. Celia Warren
  • Schweitzer (fr) (1990) as Helene Schweitzer
  • The Cherry Orchard (1992) as Livia
  • Love, Marilyn (2012) (documentary)


  1. ^ "Berlinale: 1993 Juries". Retrieved 2011-05-29. 
  2. ^ Gussow, Mel (January 23, 1999). "ET Susan Strasberg, 60, Actress Lauded in 'Anne Frank,' Dies". p. 2. 
  3. ^ Bosworth, Patricia (June 2003). "The Mentor and the Movie Star". p. 1. 
  4. ^ Smith, Kyle (February 8, 1999). "Frank Actress". 
  5. ^ Strasberg, Susan (May 5, 1980). "A Child Born Under a Square". 
  6. ^ Welkos, Robert W. (January 23, 1999). "Susan Strasberg; Stage, Film Actress, Daughter of Famed Acting Teacher". 

External links[edit]