Acting Coach Sandra Seacat Dies at 86: Laura Dern joins her fellow celebrities in Hollywood in expressing their sorrow at Sandra Seacat’s passing. According to Variety, Seacat passed away on Tuesday at the age of 86 in Santa Monica, California, from natural causes.
Jessica Lange, Andrew Garfield, Harvey Keitel, Marlo Thomas, Aaron Eckhart, Meg Ryan, Misha Baryshnikov, Isabella Rossellini, Melanie Griffith, Don Johnson, Mary Kay Place, Peter Falk, Shia LaBeouf, Martin Henderson, Mickey Rourke, and Michelle Williams were just a few of the celebrities she mentored.
Thurn Hoffman, Seacat’s spouse, and their daughter Greta Seacat—also an acting coach—remain. In a statement to Variety, Dern, 55, said: “Sandra made a living by finding wonder and opportunity in everything. She responded to the character and story’s revelation with the same degree of vigilance, irreverence, humility, and grace. She taught us the technique of acting our way into healing.
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But more than that, she encouraged us to examine aspects of who we are as artists and people that I would have never even thought to look into on my own.” The Oscar winner continued, “She’s been my instructor since I was 17, and I had the opportunity of performing with her countless times.
She has my whole heart. According to Variety, Seacat attended Northwestern University before relocating to New York to pursue an acting career with just $69 to her credit. She was given a visit from Lee Strasberg, who also employed her as an instructor.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Seacat then went on to star in the Strasberg-directed Actors Studio production of The Three Sisters on Broadway. As she disseminated her knowledge around the US and Europe in 1975, Seacat changed her focus to teaching. She gathered a following of committed pupils who became experts in their disciplines.
Her most recent appearance was in FX’s Under the Banner of Heaven when she portrayed the mother of Garfield, a former pupil. The 39-year-old Garfield told Variety in a statement, “She is a real icon because she led the most moral life one could imagine. A life dedicated to effective service and therapeutic healing through art. She was a teacher of acting and storytelling who helped change the culture.”
He concluded that she is an example of what a life filled with deep significance and beauty might be like for all of us. “She was also irreverent and constantly playing with abandon. I am incredibly grateful to be able to name her my mentor, friend, teacher, and co-star in Under the Banner of Heaven.”
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According to Deadline, Common, another of her students, stated: “Sandra had an effect on me and motivated me in ways that only God could have planned. She often told me, “You can heal people through your work as an actress. You can inspire people with your job as an actor,” which made me realize how much she loved people, life, and acting. And that helped me see the greater significance of my work.”