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Los Angeles native Jack Axelrod was an architect when he began studying with the legendary acting teacher Uta Hagen in 1967 at the suggestion of Lee Grant, his Academy Award-winning cousin. "She changed my life," Axelrod said of Hagen.
In only his second year with Hagen, Axelrod landed parts in Woody Allen's Bananas and on Broadway. "It was the greatest year of my life," he said.
This spring Axelrod is at Colby directing the Roman comedy Rudens by Plautus (whom Axelrod calls "the Neil Simon of his day") as a visiting artist in the Department of Theater and Dance.
When not acting, directing or teaching on stage, Axelrod occasionally appears in television roles, which include recent parts on Star Trek Voyager, Dharma and Greg, Gideon's Crossing and Ally McBeal. Axelrod is probably best known as General Hospital's mob boss Victor Jerome, which he turned from a one-time guest shot into a 1987-89 run. "I was head of the most incompetent crime family," said Axelrod. "Oh, if only I hadn't died."
Axelrod prefers theater to television (which he describes as opening night without a rehearsal) . "We've developed a society that's forgotten that it should be concerned with beauty, truth and justice," he said. In plays "you're creating the life of a human spirit."
HOW SHOULD WE TEACH?
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A Ray of Hope: Brittany Ray '93 inspires where she found her inspiration
An Education CEO: Robert Furek '65 brings accountability to Hartford public schools
Charting Success: James Verrilli '83 directs charter school turn-around in Newark
Perspectives on Reform: Colby experts discuss reform and the purpose of education
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