Paula Strasberg (March 8, 1909[1] – April 29, 1966) was a former stage actress who became actor and teacher Lee Strasberg's second wife and mother of actors John and Susan Strasberg, as well as Marilyn Monroe's acting coach and confidante.


Born Pearl Miller, she made her debut on Broadway in 1927, appearing in The Cradle Song. Two years later, she married her first husband, Harry Stein, whom she divorced in 1935. The union was childless. She appeared in more than 20 stage roles until Me and Molly in 1948. A life member of the Actors Studio,[4] she married, secondly, to Lee Strasberg in 1935, several days after her first marriage was officially dissolved.

She was later blacklisted for her membership in the American Communist Party, although her husband was not a member and suffered no adverse effects on his career. She went on to become Marilyn Monroe's acting coach and confidante until Monroe's death in 1962, supplanting Natasha Lytess.[citation needed]

Personal life

Her children, Susan (1938-1999) and John (born 1941), were also actors. Susan Strasberg described her mother as a "combination delicatessen, pharmacist, Jewish mother".[5]


Paula Strasberg died of bone marrow cancer at Beth Israel Hospital in Manhattan on April 29, 1966, aged 57, and is interred at Westchester Hills Cemetery in Hastings-on-Hudson, Westchester County, New York. She was survived by her husband, their two children, and a younger sister, Beatrice.[6]


  1. ^ a b Paula Strasberg at Find a Grave
  2. ^ "Paula Strasberg Dies". The Sarasota Herald-Tribune. 1966-05-02. p. 43. Retrieved 2014-01-16. 
  3. ^ Harry Stein reference,; accessed September 16, 2016.
  4. ^ Garfield, David (1980). "Appendix: Life Members of The Actors Studio as of January 1980". A Player's Place: The Story of The Actors Studio. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc. p. 280. ISBN 0-02-542650-8. 
  5. ^ Summers, Anthony (1986). Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe. New American Library. p. 173. ISBN 0-451-40014-3. 
  6. ^ Profile,; accessed March 4, 2015.