The primary Stages Off-Broadway Oral history Project

Celebrating the visionaries who created New York's vibrant Off- and Off-Off-Broadway theater.

Austin Pendleton

Austin Pendleton

Actor, Director, Playwright
Born on Wednesday, March 27, 1940

Interviewed on: Friday, April 3, 2015
Location: Primary Stages Offices
Interviewed by: Casey Childs
Interview #35
"The flexibility of Off-Broadway has just been true from the moment I first became involved with it."
Austin Pendleton Highlights
Video Length: 5 Minutes, 6 Seconds
Austin Pendleton Interview
Video Length: 2 Hours, 14 Minutes

Austin Pendleton is an actor, director, and playwright. He also served as the Artistic Director for the Circle Repertory Company until it closed in 1996. He has worked with Classic Stage Company, Playwrights Horizons, Atlantic Theater Company, Signature Theatre, York Theatre Company, Pearl Theatre Company, and Manhattan Theatre Club. His Off-Broadway acting credits include: OH DAD, POOR DAD, MAMA’S HUNG YOU IN THE CLOSET AND I’M FEELING SO SAD (1962), THE LAST SWEET DAYS OF ISAAC (1970), EDUCATING RITA (1987), UNCLE VANYA (1987), SOPHISTRY (1993), THE EXONERATED (2002), MOTHER COURAGE AND HER CHILDREN (2006), ROMEO AND JULIET (2007), IVANOV (2012), CHOIR BOY (2013), and STRAIGHT WHITE MEN (2014). His Off-Broadway directing credits include: THE OLD GLORY (1976), SPOILS OF WAR (1988), THE SIZE OF THE WORLD (1996), TOYS IN THE ATTIC (2007), FIFTY WORDS (2008), VIEUX CARRÉ (2009), THREE SISTERS (2011), BETWEEN RIVERSIDE AND CRAZY (2014), and HAMLET (2015). His plays are BOOTH (1994), UNCLE BOB (2001), and ORSON’S SHADOW (2005). In 1970, he won an OBIE Award for Distinguished Performance in THE LAST SWEET DAYS OF ISAAC. He was the recipient of the 2011 OBIE Award for Direction with THREE SISTERS. In 2007, he was bestowed the Drama Desk Special Award as Renaissance Man of the American Theatre.

Pendleton was born in Warren, Ohio and is a graduate of the Yale University School of Drama. In addition to Off-Broadway, he has worked in film, television, and on Broadway. His film credits include: The Thief Who Came to Dinner (1973), The Muppet Movie (1979), My Cousin Vinny (1992), and A Beautiful Mind (2001). His television credits include: “One Life to Live,” “Miami Vice,” and “Homicide: Life on the Street.” Pendleton’s Broadway credits include: Fiddler on the Roof (1964), Shelter (1973), The Little Foxes (1967/1981), Doubles (1985), Grand Hotel (1989),and The Diary of Anne Frank (1997). Pendleton has been an ensemble member of the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago since 1987. While working with this company, he directed Say Goodnight,Gracie (1979) and acted in Uncle Vanya (2001), The Sunset Limited (2006), and The Crucible (2007). He currently teaches acting classes at HB Studio, and he formerly taught directing at The New School for Drama in New York City.

Mentioned in Interview

Alice Griffin, Jo Van Fleet, Jerome Robbins, Sam Waterston, Geraldine Page, Mirror Repertory Company, Circle Repertory Theatre, The Hope Zone, The Pearl Theatre Company, Manhattan Theatre Club, TOYS IN THE ATTIC, VIEUX CARRÉ, BETWEEN RIVERSIDE AND CRAZY, OH DAD POOR DAD MAMA’S HUNG YOU IN THE CLOSET AND I’M FEELING SO SAD, THE LAST SWEET DAYS OF ISAAC, ROMULUS, BOOTH, UNCLE BOB, ORSON’S SHADOW, SAY GOODNIGHT GRACIE, GHOSTS