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Julian Beck

Beck, Julian, 1925–85, American theatrical director, actor, and producer, b. New York City. He married Judith Malina, 1926–, also an American theatrical director, actor, and producer, b. Germany. Together they founded the Living Theater in 1947, which inaugurated the off-off Broadway movement. Their productions were highly imaginative and often involved collective improvisation and took an anarcho-pacifist viewpoint. Perhaps their most controversial work was Paradise Now (1968), a free-form critique of American life that involved nudity and audience participation. Their other productions include The Connection (1959), The Brig (1963), In the Jungle of the Cities (1960), and Antigone (1968). The company was based in Europe for two decades (1963–83). After Beck's death, the theater continued under the direction of Malina and Hanon Reznikov.

See J. Malina's autobiography, The Enormous Despair (1972); R. Neff, The Living Theatre: USA (1970); J. Tytell, The Living Theater: Art, Exile, and Outrage (1995).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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