William Esper, the influential acting teacher who lent his expertise to multiple stars such as John Malkovich, Jeff Goldblum, Kim Basinger, Sam Rockwell and Tracee Ellis Ross, has died at the age of 86.
His death was confirmed by his family to The Hollywood Reporter, saying that William on Saturday, January 26, at his home in New York City.
As for the cause of death, his son, Michael Esper, told the publication that his father passed away from complications from Lewy body disease.
William Esper was the greatest acting teacher and mentor who touched so many lives. Rest In Peace Bill. We are forever grateful for you. With love, gratitude and cherished memories. We love you Bill! @EsperActing #ripwilliamesper #billesper pic.twitter.com/nZxUhHDzar— ActorsTheater (@ActorsTheaterNY) January 27, 2019
William's students also included other famous actors including Paul Sorvino, Mary Steenburgen, Kristin Davis, Jennifer Beals, William Hurt, Wendy Malik, Dule Hill, Calista Flockhart, Kim Delaney, Peter Gallagher, Richard Schiff, Patricia Heaton, Christine Lahti, Gretchen Mol, Aaron Eckhart, Larry David, Amy Schumer, Michele Shay, Patricia Wettig, David Morse and Timothy Olyphant.
William, who was a Sanford Meisner disciple, launched his William Esper Studio in 1965. He began working with Meisner in 1962 and worked for the next 15 years together.
In an interview for Backstage in 2014, William told the outlet that his actors were "drilled on how to create and craft spontaneity.
He continued, "Meisner said that acting without spontaneity is like soup without salt — it's stale, flat and totally unprofitable."
In addition to his son Michael, William is survived by his wife Suzanne; daughter, Shannon and her husband, Jake; and grandson Otis.
A memorial service for the late acting teacher will be announced in the coming days. Rest in Peace William Esper.
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