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Cuba Gooding Jr.
Lyle Kessler was born and raised in Philadelphia. Initially an actor he appeared in the Philadelphia premier of Waiting for Godot opposite Bruce Dern. He studied acting with Lee Strasberg and accepted into the Director's Unit of The Actors Studio, wrote and directed his first one act play, The Viewing which he subsequently directed at the Lucille Lortel Theater.
Kessler's films include Orphans directed by Alan Pakula and starring Matthew Modine and Albert Finney. He wrote and Executive Produced The Saint of Fort Washinton for Warner Brothers, directed by Tim Hunter, starring Danny Glover and Matt Dillon. A partial list of his other films include, Gladiator with Cuba Gooding Jr. and Brian Dennehy, and Touched written and co-starring Mr. Kessler, Robert Hays and Ned Beatty.
Mr Kessler's plays include The Watering Place, produced on Broadway, Robbers at the American Place Theatre, Possession at EST and Unlisted at L.A's Tiffany Theatre. Orphans was directed by Gary Sinese at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre and then moved to its successful New York run. Albert Finney won the Oliver Award in London's West End production. Orphans is performed continually in almost every country in the world. Mr Kessler's plays have been published by Randon House, Grove Press and Samuel French.
Kessler and Mark Rydell co-moderate the Writer/Directors Unit of The Actors Studio West. Mr Kessler served as the Director of the Sundance Screenwriter's Lab. He also participated in the Sundance Screenwriters Conference in Hungary, working with writers from all over Eastern Europe.
Mr. Kessler was awarded a Rockefeller Foundation Playwriting Grant and won the New York State council on the Arts Playwriting Award.
Mr Kessler and his wife actress Margaret Ladd are Founders of the Imagination Workshop located at UCLA'S Neuropsychiatric Institute. Using a unique Artistic Methodology, actors, writers and directors create scenes and original plays with psychiatric patients, veterans and 'At Risk' students in the L.A Public Schools.