John Frey, Actor, Screenwriter and Acting Teacher, Dies at 62

John Frey
Courtesy of Frank Coelho

John Frey

He taught the craft in Portugal and at the prestigious William Esper Studio in Manhattan.

John Frey, an actor and screenwriter who taught acting in Lisbon, Portugal, and at the William Esper Studio in Manhattan, died Jan. 23 of heart failure in New York, his friend Frank Coelho announced. He was 62.

The Bronx-born Frey graduated from the William Esper Studio, then returned in 2019 to teach the Meisner acting technique.

"An artist pure of heart and generous of spirit has been taken from us far too soon," reads a statement on the studio's website. "John was a critically acclaimed director, award-winning screenwriter and among the most respected acting technique teachers in the world."

Frey collaborated as an actor and/or screenwriter with Portuguese filmmaker Bruno de Almeida on such features as On the Run (1999), The Collection (2005), The Lovebirds (2007), Operation Autumn (2012) and Cabaret Maxime (2018).

He also appeared for writer-director Michael Imperioli in The Hungry Ghosts (2009), on the FX series Rescue Me and on the 2016-17 Russian miniseries Mata Hari with Rutger Hauer and GĂ©rard Depardieu.

Frey moved to Lisbon in 2009 and opened an acting studio and then the Below the Belt Theater Company, through which he directed and staged plays including John Patrick Shanley's Danny and the Deep Blue Sea and Stephen Adly Guirgis' The Motherfucker With the Hat.

At the time of his death, he was preparing to promote a screenplay about Moby Dick author Herman Melville.

Survivors include his sister, brother and mother.