ROY LONDON's BIOGRAPHY
Roy London (1943-1993) was born and raised on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, New York City. In the last fifteen years of his life he became the premier teacher in Hollywood. He has been cited as a profound new influence on film acting. He taught over two hundred and fifty actors weekly and coached many more privately. In addition to preparing his clients for performances, London was also called upon to help develop and shape their projects. His knowledge of writing, combined with his experience of having acted in over 150 roles on Broadway, Off-Broadway, The Royal Shakespeare Company, feature films and television, led him to discover how to help actors reveal material in dynamic ways that led to exciting performances. Synthesizing techniques from many acting schools, with a focus on results — he had no tolerance for psychobabble — his reputation exploded.
London's classes began in his living room, and spread by word of mouth. In 1984 he moved to his own studio, but he never put a sign on the door, listed the phone number, advertised the classes nor publicised his teaching.
His students, who have thanked him on the Academy Awards, The Golden Globes, The MTV Movie Awards and more, as well as countless newspapers, magazines and autobiographies, have remembered Roy fondly.
A math prodigy at age five, Roy was on the radio show, Quiz Kids, and educated at the experimental elementary school at Hunter College, NYC. In 1948 the school was featured in LIFE Magazine and shows little Roy telling an arresting tale of death, transfiguration and group marriage involving Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.
To graduate at twenty from Antioch College, in Yellow Springs, Ohio, London wrote a paper that combined mathematic concepts and the precepts of theater. Upon returning to New York, in 1963, he immediately found work, both on Broadway and in the burgeoning Off-Broadway scene. He studied acting at HB Studio with Uta Hagen and was an integral member of Joseph's Chaiken's avant-garde, "Open Theater." During this era, Roy lived with Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Lanford Wilson.
Roy was an original member and a resident playwright of Circle Rep Theater in Greenwich Village. London won the Peabody Award for a radio play and has three books of plays published by Dramatists Play Service. In addition, he was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Creative Writing and The New York State Grant in Creative Writing.
In the late seventies when Roy was on tour with Lynn Redgrave and performing on stage at the Huntington Hartford Theater in Los Angeles, he decided to stay in Hollywood. As an actor, he appeared on television in programs as widely diverse as WNET's USA Writer's segment about Catcher in the Rye, (Roy is the only person to have professionally portrayed Holden Caulfield and with J.D. Salinger's) to the daytime soap opera, Edge Of Night, where he was popular as a peeping-tom for several seasons. In commercials Roy was an everyman, playing one of the Tang Astronauts, The Williams Lectric Shave Man, The Western Auto man, and innumerable others. He appeared on Falcon Crest, Hill Street Blues, Newheart, Momma's Place, Fatal Vision and many more. In feature films, after a bit part in the Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart, Roy went on to be seen with George C. Scott in Hardcore, Antonioni's, Zabriskie Point, in William Friedkin's Rampage and others.
As a writer, Roy's television projects included a two hour Movie of the Week for NBC, California Gold Rush. He wrote several screenplays, including, Tiger Warsaw, starring Patrick Swayze and Piper Laurie.
Roy debuted as a television director with episodes of Showtime’s, "It's Garry Shandling's Show." Later he directed episodes of Garry's HBO, "The Larry Sanders Show," for which he was nominated for a Cable Ace Award. In 1992 Roy’s first feature film as a director, Diary Of A Hit Man was released, starring Forest Whitaker, Sherilyn Fenn and Sharon Stone.
London was mid pre-production for his second feature film as a director when he became ill and died from complications due to the AIDS virus.
Roy's partner in life and work for his last ten years was Tim Healey; they had a commitment ceremony in 1988. Roy is buried in a cemetery overlooking the ocean in Santa Barbara, where he shared a home with Tim.
Roy’s students included:
(those in bold are interviewed in the documentary ‘Special Thank To Roy London’):
Paula Abdul, Kevin Anderson, Louie Anderson, Rhonda Aldrich, Patricia Arquette, Richmond Arquette, Hank Azaria, Cynthia Bain, Adam Baldwin, Ray Barry, Justine Bateman, Allyce Beasley, David Beecroft, Jim Belushi, Elizabeth Berkley, Andy Bloch, Hart Bochner, James Brolin, Pierce Brosnan, Julie Brown, Paul Brown, Drew Carey, Alice Carter, Dana Carvey, Kim Cattrall, Larry Cedar, Molly Cheek, Lois Chiles, Ivana Chubbuck, Lisa Cloud, Jennifer Connelly, Wayne Crawford, Mimi Craven, Claudia Cron, Marcia Cross, Lise Cutter, Brenda Currin, Beverly D'Angelo, Geena Davis, Jake Dengle, Dean Devlin, Anthony Drazan, Faye Dunaway, Josh Evans, Sherilyn Fenn, Conchata Ferrell, Brendan Fraser, Bruce French, Johnathan Frechette, Michael Geary, Bruce Gilbert, Jeff Goldblum, Jason Gould, Arye Gross, Linda Grey, Daryl Hannah, Kathryn Harrold, Mariel Hemingway, Karen Leigh Hopkins, Calista Hendrickson, Beth Howland, Famke Janssen, Joey Jupiter, Catherine Keener, Sue Kiel, Andy Lane, Nathan LeGrand, Ken Lerner, Janel Moloney, Bess Meyer, Karen Montgomery, Gail O'Grady, Joanna Pacula, Dedee Pfeiffer, Michelle Pfeiffer, Brad Pitt, Pat Riley, Jamie Rose, Johnathon Schaech, Garry Shandling, Sharon Stone, Patrick Swayze, Rita Taggart, Cameron Thor, Sal Viscuso, Julie Warner, Forest Whitaker.