Alvin Epstein

Alvin Epstein (May 14, 1925, Bronx – December 10, 2018, Newton, Massachusetts) was an American actor and director. He was a founding member of both the American Repertory Theater and Yale Repertory Theatre. He was particularly admired for his performances in the plays of Samuel Beckett. He also served as Artistic Director at the Guthrie Theater.[1]

Life and career

Born in the Bronx, Epstein was the son of Harry Epstein, a physician, and his wife Goldie Epstein (née Rudnick). He graduated from the High School of Music & Art in Manhattan and the Queens College, City University of New York.[2] After serving in the United States Army during World War II in Germany, he studied dance in New York with Martha Graham and mime in Paris. His early performances in New York City included appearing in mimes with Marcel Marceau. In 1956 he made his Broadway debut as the Fool in Orson Welles’ 1956 production of William Shakespear's King Lear. That same year he portrayed the slave Lucky in the Broadway premiere of Beckett’s Waiting for Godot.[1]

Epstein continued to appear in many productions of Godot's plays, including Clov, the servant, in the United States premiere of Endgame in 1958. He portrayed two more characters in that play during his career: Hamm, Clov’s tyrannical blind master, in a 1984 Off-Broadway production that he also directed, at the Samuel Beckett Theater; and Hamm’s aged father, Nagg, who lives in a garbage can, performed at the Irish Repertory Theatre in Manhattan in 2005 and again, in 2008, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.[1]



Year Title Role
1976Everybody Rides the CarouselNarrator
1991Beauty and the BeastBookseller
Age Isn't Everything
1996Never Met PicassoUncle Alfred
2002Alma MaterLeonard Carver
2003Psychoanalysis Changed My LifeOtto Zurmer
2004Beacon HillPreston Brooks
2008Synecdoche, New YorkMan With Nose Bleed
We Pedal UphillMortimer
2013Young(ish)Old Man
2016Year by the SeaErik Erikson


Year Title Role Notes
1956 Omnibus Segment: Androcles and the Lion
1959 The Further Adventures of Ellery Queen Elwood Parker Episode: "The Paper Tigers"
1960 Armstrong Circle Theatre Reinhard Heydrich Episode: "Engineer of Death: The Eichmann Story"
1961 Naked City Elliot Kesbek Episode: "The Fault In Our Stars"
1961 Play of the Week Lucky Episode: "Waiting for Godot"
1961 Play of the Week Camille Episode: "Therese Raquin"
1961 Great Ghost Tales Dr. Kaplan Episode: "Who Is the Fairest One of All?"
1963 The Doctors Philip Manning
1964 Mr. Broadway Chauvigny Episode: "Maggie, Queen of the Jungle"
1969 NET Playhouse Ensemble Member Episode: Story Theatre
1986 Doing Life Lou Rosenberg
1990 Law & Order Dr. Chester Episode: "Prescription for Death"
2004 Law & Order Stuart Rubin Episode: "City Hall"
2012 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Harold Lassiter Episode: "Lessons Learned"
2015My America Elderly Veteran Episode: "Roosevelt Island"


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