She was always concerned about the question of integrity, and would bring it up whenever we saw each other. It was, she pointed out, the central theme of “Golden Boy”: Odets “wrote it after he got back to New York from a scriptwriting job in Hollywood, when a lot of his friends on the left were criticizing him for ‘selling out.’ I think he was torn between the Hollywood movie scene and the New York theater scene in the same way Joe” — the lead in “Golden Boy” — “is torn between boxing for big money and becoming a great violinist.” Stella always grilled me to make sure I hadn’t lost my integrity; she considered this a major problem for the American artist. I wonder what she would have said about the almost total materialism of our current era? Stella Adler was a grande dame of the theater. I never met anyone remotely like her. With her mid-Atlantic accent, she was once mistaken by a London shopkeeper for English. “No,” she replied, “just affected.” And at a New York cocktail party, she once made a sweeping entrance that brought a hush to the room. A little girl turned to her mother and asked in an awed whisper, “Mommy, is that God?” I understand how the little girl felt. All Stella’s students would.
more from Peter Bogdanovitch at the NY Times here.