Acting teacher Milton Katselas dies

Students included George Clooney, Doris Roberts

Milton Katselas, a Broadway director and acting teacher whose students included George Clooney, Gene Hackman, Michelle Pfeiffer and many other stars, has died. He was 75.

Katselas died of heart failure on Friday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, said Allen Barton, executive director of Katselas' Beverly Hills Playhouse acting school.

"Everybody Loves Raymond" actress Doris Roberts, a multiple Emmy winner, studied with Katselas for decades.

"I am the actress I am because of him. I am the human being I am because of him," she told the Los Angeles Times. "He was an original, extraordinary."

"He had a wonderful genius for perception and for seeing what was missing in a scene. He taught you how to take it to the next level," actress Joan Van Ark said. "He's just irreplaceable. As actors, we've lost our shepherd."

Katselas was born in Pittsburgh, where he studied theater at what is now Carnegie Mellon University. After graduating, he moved to New York and studied with acting coach Lee Strasberg.

He was 24 when he began teaching acting in New York.

Mentored by noted directors Elia Kazan and Joshua Logan, Katselas began his own directing career in the 1960s. He worked on several Broadway productions, including "The Rose Tattoo" in 1966. He was nominated for a Tony Award in 1970 for "Butterflies Are Free."

He also directed several movies, including the 1972 film version of "Butterflies."

Katselas wrote the 1996 book "Dreams Into Action: Getting What You Want." The teaching text he used for decades was released this year as "Acting Class: Take a Seat."

Katselas is survived by his brothers, Tasso and Chris, and a sister, Sophia.

Services have not been scheduled, a playhouse employee said.
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