(Retired) Jean Shelton is considered one of the finest acting teachers in the country. Her career began in New York City in 1947 when she began acting at the American Repertory Theatre with Broadway actor/director Wendell Phillips whom she later married. She was closely associated with Stella Adler, Harold Clurman, and Lee Strasberg, (considered the founders of the American method style of acting) among many others. She acted and directed in New York during the 1950’s and one time for Tennessee Williams in his first play Hello from Bertha in 1956 to his delight.
She left New York City in 1961 and married Robert Elross where they founded the 14th Street Arts Center in the mission district of San Francisco with Pierre De Lattre and then founded the Playhouse Theatre Company in Berkeley before establishing the acting school that bears her name. She has been a consultant for major motion pictures, television studios, and film directors and has been encouraging actors for over 50 years now. Her students have won Academy Awards, Emmy Awards, Tony Awards, Obie Awards, and countless local awards. Her final stage performance, at the age of 80, of Horton Foote’s play, A Trip to Bountiful, was witnessed by the author and described by Mr. Foote as; “masterful” and compared her to Laurette Taylor. She received the Payne Knickerbocker Lifetime Achievement Award in 1989.