Vivian Nathan

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Vivian Nathan
Born Vivian Firko
October 26, 1916
New York City, New York
Died April 3, 2015 (aged 98)
Englewood, New Jersey
Nationality American
Occupation Actress
Spouse(s) Nathan Schwalb (1950-2000, his death)[1]
Parent(s) Hipolit and Anna Firko

Vivian Nathan (October 26, 1916 – April 3, 2015) was an American actress and original, founding, member of the Actors Studio, which opened in 1947. She served on the Actors Studio's board of directors until 1999.[2] She appeared in the original Broadway debut productions of The Rose Tattoo (1951) and Camino Real (1953).[2] Her film credits included Klute.

Early years[edit]

Nathan was born Vivian Firko in New York City on October 26, 1916, to Hipolit and Anna Firko.[3]


Nathan won an audition with John Golden, a theater producer who was seeking new stage actors. She made her Broadway debut in the 1949 production of Montserrat, which was written by Lillian Hellman.[2]

She became an original member of the Actors Studio when it was founded in 1947 by Elia Kazan and Lee Strasberg. Nathan also worked as acting instructor and session moderator at the Studio. Her students included the late actress, Kim Stanley.[2] Vivian Nathan served on the Actor Studio's board of directors until 1999, alongside Ellen Burstyn, Lee Grant, Paul Newman, Al Pacino, and Estelle Parsons.[2]

In 1951, Nathan was cast in the original Broadway opening of Tennessee Williams' The Rose Tattoo, co-starring together with Martin Balsam, Maureen Stapleton, and Eli Wallach.[2] She re-teamed with Martin Balsam for 1953's Camino Real, which was directed by Eli Kazan.

Nathan received a Clarence Derwent Award in 1951 for her role as the Charwoman in Anastasia. She also portrayed a Holocaust survivor in The Investigation in 1966.[2] In 1977, Nathan co-starred opposite Anne Bancroft in the play Golda, which was directed by Arthur Penn.[2] Her other Broadway credits include The Watering Place, Semi-Detached, and The Lovers.[4]


Nathan also worked in film as well. She made her film debut in the 1958 romantic comedy, Teacher's Pet, starring Clark Gable.[2] She also appeared in the 1961 crime drama The Young Savages and The Outsider, also released in 1961, in which she played Tony Curtis' mother.[2] She gave a notable performance as Jane Fonda's psychiatrist in the 1971 crime thriller, Klute.[2]


Nathan appeared in The Investigation,[5] in The Last Summer episode of Studio One,[6] and in the Journey To The Day[7] and The Violent Heart episodes of Playhouse 90.[8]


Nathan died at the Lillian Booth Actors Home in Englewood, New Jersey, on April 3, 2015, at the age of 98. Her late husband, Nathan Schwalb, whom she had been married to for more than 50 years, died in 2000. Nathan's memorial service was held at Riverside Memorial Chapel on the Upper West Side of Manhattan on April 12, 2015.[2]

Awards and honors[edit]



  1. ^ "Vivian Nathan, 98". Classic Images (488): 51. February 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Barnes, Mike (2015-04-10). "Vivian Nathan, Original Member of The Actors Studio, Dies at 98". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2015-04-25. 
  3. ^ a b "Vivian Nathan obiuary". New York Times. 2015-04-09. Retrieved 2015-04-25. 
  4. ^ "Vivian Nathan". Playbill. Retrieved 27 February 2016. 
  5. ^ "(TV listing)". California, Fremont. The Argus. April 13, 1967. p. 16. Retrieved February 27, 2016 – via  open access publication – free to read
  6. ^ "(TV listing)". Oregon, Salem. The Oregon Statesman. August 3, 1958. p. 12. Retrieved February 27, 2016 – via  open access publication – free to read
  7. ^ "(TV listing)". New York, Oneonta. The Oneonta Star. April 16, 1960. p. 7. Retrieved February 27, 2016 – via  open access publication – free to read
  8. ^ "(TV listing)". Oregon, Salem. The Oregon Statesman. February 2, 1958. p. 18. Retrieved February 27, 2016 – via  open access publication – free to read

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