Improvising Out Loud: My Life Teaching Hollywood How To Act by Jeff Corey with Emily Corey. Foreword by Leonard Nimoy. Afterword by Janet Neipris.

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Improvising Out Loud: My Life Teaching Hollywood How To Act by Jeff Corey with Emily Corey

Improvising Out Loud

This memoir details the life of Jeff Corey and the acting lessons he gave. His teaching work contributed to the performances of many of the stars that we are very familiar with today.

Improvising Out Loud: My Life Teaching Hollywood How To Act will be available May 2017 from the University Press of Kentucky.

TRI is the proud holder of the Jeff Corey Collection.

See our catalog record:

Notes below from our catalog record:

Biographical/Historical Note:

Jeff Corey (1914-2002) was a well-known Hollywood actor, teacher and director whose career spanned six decades. He was born on August 10, 1914 in Brooklyn, New York. He began his career in Shakespearean repertory in New York where he first attracted began his career in Shakespearean repertory in New York where he first attracted Leslie Howard. In 1940, he and Hope, his wife of two years, moved to Hollywood, where Corey helped to establish the Actors Lab, under whose aegis he performed in several productions, including Abe Lincoln in Illinois. He also immediately began his film career with a series of bit parts. Corey worked steadily in film and quickly gained recognition as a fine character actor. His film career was interrupted, however, when he joined the Navy in 1943 and was assigned to the ship Yorktown as a combat photographer. During the war he earned citations for his photography work. After his military service, Corey returned to Hollywood to resume a fruitful film career. In 1947 he had a substantial role in Brute Force a prison film starring Burt Lancaster and Hume Cronyn, and in 1949 he had one of his most prestigious film roles as an Army psychiatrist in Stanley Kramer’s Home of the Brave. Corey worked steadily in films until his career was derailed in 1951 when he was summoned to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee after being named as a former Communist Party member by actor Marc Lawrence. During his appearance before the committee, Corey refused to provide names of other possible Communists within the entertainment community. Due to this refusal, Corey was labeled as an “unfriendly witness” and was subsequently blacklisted by the Hollywood establishment; thus he was barred from obtaining work within the entertainment industry. In order to support his family Corey took odd jobs doing carpentry and digging ditches; he also began offering acting lessons from his home. He quickly gained a reputation as the top acting teacher in Hollywood and soon, the same studios that refused to hire Corey as an actor were sending their performers to him for lessons. Students who attended Corey’s acting classes include Jack Nicholson, James Dean, Rita Moreno, Richard Chamberlain, Dean Stockwell, Robert Blake, Sally Kellerman, Roger Corman, Robin Williams, Leonard Nimoy, Barbra Streisand, Carol Burnett and Anthony Perkins. Corey did not appear in film again until 1963 when he played a small part in The Yellow Canary, a film starring singer-actor Pat Boone, the man Corey credited for restarting his film career, because it was at Boone’s insistence that Twentieth-Century Fox hired Corey. Soon, other studios followed suit, and Corey was once again able to maintain a steady film career. It was during this post-blacklist period in which he played some of his most memorable roles including that of the outlaw Tom Chaney in True Grit starring John Wayne, and that of Wild Bill Hickock in Little Big Man starring Dustin Hoffman. In 1982 Corey fulfilled a lifelong dream when he played King Lear at the North Shore Playhouse in Massachusetts. Corey died on August 16, 2002 at the age of 88 in California

Note:    Arrangement note: The collection is arranged in three series — Series 1: Acting and Directing Career, –Series 2: Acting Classes and Teaching, –Series 3: Papers and Clippings, –Series 4: Audio and Video.

Summary:    The collection includes Corey’s scripts, personal and business correspondence, clippings, programs, photographs, posters, lobby cards, audio tapes and videos. A significant part of the collection is devoted to materials Corey used to teach his acting classes, including script excerpts, notes on acting theory, lesson plans, charts and notes on student progress. There are also extensive papers and clippings related to the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) including Corey’s summons to appear before the committee, a copy of Corey’s prepared statement to HUAC (that he was never allowed to deliver), and a transcript of testimony given to HUAC by Rose Hobart, Roman Bohnen, J. Edward Bromberg and Will Lee of the Actors’ Lab on February 17, 1948

Note:    For research use in library only. Some restrictions may apply

Indexes Finding aid is available in the library

Local Note:

Partial filmography: Third Finger, Left Hand (1940) — The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941) — My Friend Flicka (1943) — The Killers (1946) — Brute Force (1947) — Miracle on 34th Street (1947) — Joan of Arc (1948) — Home of the Brave (1949) — Superman and the Mole Men (1951) — Lady in a Cage (1963) — The Yellow Canary (1963) — The Balcony (1963) — Cincinnati Kid (1965) — In Cold Blood (1967) — Boston Strangler (1968) — True Grit (1969) — Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) — Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970) — They Call me Mister Tibbs (1970)

Representative television appearances: Adventures of Superman (1951) — The Untouchables (1961) — Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. (1965) — Rawhide (1965) — Bonanza (1966, 1971) — Gunsmoke (1969) — Star Trek (1969) — Hawaii-Five-O (1969, 1971) — Night Gallery (1970, 1971) — Little House on the Prairie (1971, 1989) — The Bob Newhart Show (1973) — The Six Million Dollar Man (1975) — Starsky and Hutch (1975) — Kojak (1975) — The Richard Pryor Show (1977) — Barney Miller (1978, 1979) — Lou Grant (1980, 1981, 1982) — Night Court (1984, 1986) — Roseanne (1989) — Babylon 5 (1996) — Murphy Brown (1997)

This collection is the gift of Emily Corey, Eve Corey Poling, and Jane Corey