December 9, 2008

R.I.P. Nina Foch 1924 - 2008

Hatched by Movie Badger

Even though I've known this was coming for a while, considering she was elderly and in poor health since the first time I met her, it made me quite sad to learn that Nina Foch passed away last Thursday night at the age of 84.

Foch was one of the people you've never (barely) heard of, yet who has had an enormous influence on modern film. She initially was an actress, appearing in Scaramouche, the Ten Commandments, Executive Suite, an American in Paris, and Spartacus. But far more important, she taught about acting and working with actors to every directing and screenwriting student of the USC Film School for the last 40 years.

She profoundly changed the way I think about actors and acting, and no doubt did the same for other students in her class; that includes Judd Apatow, John August, John Carpenter, Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, George Lucas, Josh Schwartz, Bryan Singer, John Singleton, Stephen Sommers, and Robert Zemeckis. Anyone on this list that went to film school since the 60s was hugely influenced by Nina Foch.

She also did extensive private work with actors, directors, and singers, changing the way they think about acting as well.

As an instructor, she was scary as hell; she delighted in pushing people from their comfort zone. But in doing so, she left us with a much better understanding of film than when we started -- and a strong bond with our classmates. She truly loved teaching, even teaching a class on the day she died. She will be missed.

Here's the Los Angeles Times obituary. And here is a video of her in the Mandy Moore movie How to Deal. Jump to 0:32-0:40 and 2:21-2:32:


Hatched by Movie Badger on this day, December 9, 2008, at the time of 2:31 PM

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