Earle R. Gister, who served as Associate Dean, Chair of the Acting Department at the Yale School of Drama in New Haven, and the first Lloyd Richards Professor (Adjunct) of Acting during his tenure at the school from 1979-1999, died at his home this past weekend.
"Widely hailed as one of America’s foremost acting teachers," says James Bundy, dean of the Yale School of Drama and artistic director of the Yale Repertory Theatre, " Earle will be mourned by generations of his students and colleagues here at Yale and elsewhere around the world, after a career spanning more than forty years teaching actors who went on to extraordinary success in theatre, television and film.
"He played key roles in actor training programs at North Carolina School of the Arts, The Juilliard School, Carnegie Mellon University, City College of New York, the British American Drama Academy and The Actors Center.
"Earle was also a co-founder of the League of Professional Theatre Training Programs, an advisor to the National Endowment for the Arts, and co-chair of the training panel of Theatre Communications Group.
"His teachings have been largely captured in the book, Acting: The Gister Method, written in collaboration with Joe Alberti, and being released this year by Pearson Academic.
"Speaking as a former student and one-time assistant of Earle’s, I can vividly recall his galvanic effect on so many actors, his insightful and soulful readings of the given circumstances of great plays, his deeply thoughtful notes and advice, and his love of ice cream. It is astonishing to think of the breadth of talent that Earle brought to Yale and nurtured here, and it is worth remembering that for years, when he was asked to name the greatest strength of the School of Drama, his inevitably generous reply was, “the students.”
Earle’s wife, Glynda, pre-deceased him. A memorial service will be announced by their sons, Andy, Brian and Carey, and a Facebook group called “Friends of Earle Gister” has been created to celebrate his life and accomplishments: http://www.facebook.com/groups/168582499912079/. On behalf of the School, I extend deep condolences to Earle’s family and friends, former students and colleagues.