from Ethan Rill about father Eli Rill
b. May 24th. 1926 in Brooklyn NY.
d. Nov. 7th.2014 in Los Angeles, CA.
second oldest of four children.
parents came to America through Ellis Island in the early 1920's.
HS-Townsend Harris in NY High Academic high achieving schoolastic school in NY
Lee Strasberg (1901-1982) also was a Townsend Harris graduate, (class of
1918) my dad was class of 1942.
the link. A link before they knew there was a link.
Joined the Marine Corp 1943 at 17 he was under age
Fudged his birth certificate.
Trained Marine Corp Paris Island, SC.
Then two yrs. overseas, Saipan and ultimately Nagasaki.
Had Tattooed on his Left forearm USMC 43-46
Very Proud of the Marine Corp Semper Fi.
Loved going to the VA
He was fortunate very lucky.
The VA served him very well
took care of him
Right down till the end.
Decided somewhere he wanted to be an Actor.
Summer of 1949 met my mom with a touring company, the "Borscht Circuit".
And went to the Actors Studio.
Certainly was there at the time that the Studio was on the cutting edge of all of
With Elia Kazan, Marilyn Monroe, Paul Newman,
James Dean, Tenessee Williams,
All those people.
James Baldwin was a friend of my Dad's and Mum's too.
So at that time they were in Actors Studio they were in there 20's
in the 1950's
My dad started coming to
Toronto before I was born in 1962.
born in Manhattan lived there 2-3 yrs then immigrated to Toronto.
Late 50's early 60's Nathan Cohen, (theatre critic) was part of the influence.
Don't know all the reasons he started coming to Toronto.
Could have been Nathan Cohen reaching out.
the Actors Studio Eli becomes more of a teacher than an actor in this time frame.
He becomes at the right hand of Lee Strasberg so to speak.
Sort of his underling.
Lee's daughter Susan was an actress and his wife Anna was also a teacher.
When he got to LA he was teaching at the Actors Studio with Anna Strasberg.
Worked as Humphrey Bogart's acting coach on the set of THE HARDER THEY
FALL 1955. It was Bogart's final film. My dad wrote, Bogie: The Final Chapter. it's an e-book on Kindle.
When he started coming to Toronto there was nothing here as far as Acting teachers are concerned.
He brought the Actor's Studio method here.
Doug Mcgrath began studying in 1966 part of iconic ensemble cast of
1970 Going Down The Road
Paul Bradley, Jayne
Eastwood, Cayle Chernin all in the movie studied with my Dad before being cast in Going Down The Road.
Cayle was my Dad's girlfriend at the time when my Mom and Dad
There was that whole angle on it.
Don Shebib basically said to Eli.. I need some actors to do this, what
do you think?
My Dad went boom boom boom.
There you go.
Or so legend has it.
Doug used the phrase and I think it's great,
"Eli started a fire here, he put a match to our creative
He was here almost 15 yrs. from`1964
Those were my growing up years.
First Acting studio was above Le Strip on Yonge St
I was 7 years old and walking up the back fire escape hearing
THE GIRLS ARE DANCING COME ON IN!
Catacombs above it. Shut the big doors
Dark in the studio.
The lights and the smoke
My Dad smoked a pipe then
Was a professor in the chair with a pipe
Very strong memories of that studio
Then the next studio was 18 Adelaide St W.
behind where the Hockey Hall of Fame is now.
very similar to the other place
Fire escape up
to the top floor, it had a very New York feel to it.
He taught at OCA by the Art Gallery
He was a big mucky muck at OCA Drama Dept.
Taught John Candy out of there.
Life long work
Wrote a screenplay finally self published became a novel
PENNY FOR THE VIOLIN MAN
on that for a long time.
He was probably
at the top of his game/career in Toronto.
wrote and directed a few childrens plays that ran at the Colonade Theatre
and the Theatre in the Dell.
was also nominated for a Canadian Screen Actors Award circa 1972, best supporting actor, for his performance in, "Slipstream".
Having the name Ethan Rill
Well, when I met people in Toronto over the years,
Rill by any chance are you related to Eli?
Everyone always said
" loved your Dad", he was great. He started the fire. He was the coolest
guy, he took us here . He did this and that.
talked with genuine affection for the guy.
I just got a e-mail note from Art Hindle today with his condolences.
I bumped into him a few years back at the 40th anniversary DVD release of, Face Off.
In 1970 Art Hindle is studying with my DAD and gets
the role of Billy Duke in the movie Face Off
Hockey player falls in love with a girl, she has drug issues, can he save the day.
Filmed in Toronto, all the hockey scenes at Maple Leaf Gardens.
Lots of Hockey in it.
Jim Mackenny was
the stunt double for Art Hindle.
He was star with
They send JM to Dad's
class to get familiar
Takes classes with my
Gets the Acting bug.
Later became City TV sports announcer and personality.
Lived around the corner from Dad.
Starts giving ML tickets to my dad.
I'm going 2 -3 times a month in 1970-71 season.
So four years ago when I see Art Hindle and McKenny at the 40th year
anniversary as well as other students of my Dads that were there that night
All asking about Dad with warmth and affection.
Happy Hooker Xavier Hollander starts taking classes with my Dad
I was 12 or 13 years old
Because of her connections Dad and me at age 12 and the Happy Hooker went to
Frank Sinatra at Maple Leaf Gardens. The looks we were getting.
Also had classes at the Jewish Y, (YMHA) at Bloor and Spadina in the mid 1970's, Mum substituted
for him a bunch times.
Lou Gossett JR. had a nice quote about my Mom & Dad
at the Actors Studio in his book, An Actor and a Gentleman, "I also studied with Janine Manatis, a great actress and
an equally wonderful teacher, who was married to the director Eli Rill.
This married couple taught in tandem, with one spouses class on Tuesday and the other's on Thursday.
Late 1970's moved to LA with his third with Claire Goren and had a daughter, my sister Elissa in 1981.
Wanted a challenge and went to LA
at the Actors Studio-West in LA for 3 years.
had his own studio on Sunset Blvd across from the Hollywood Athletic Club.
East of La Brea.
Because of my Dad and Mother I went to so many
films, plays, shows and got a great education. My Parents were perfect parents for me. I couldn't have had a more
right Dad for me.
I would visit my dad in LA in the late 70's and 80's regularly.
I moved there myself in 1985 and spent the next 25yrs. there.
He was a Father and a Grandfather.
was drama and life in my Dad's classes
knew we were are all getting together to celebrate him he would be so proud and happy.
"Have fun", was always said by my Dad .