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Gary, actor and teacher, author and artist, has spent his entire professional life in the business of film, television and theatre.
After completing his degree in English Literature and graduating with honors from C.W. Post College, Swanson put aside a career as a professional diver and began working immediately as an actor in New York City. He starred in the NBC soap opera Sommerset¯ for two years. While on that show he met with the famed acting teacher and father of The Method, Lee Strasberg. Gary studied with Strasberg both privately and at the Actors Studio after auditioning and becoming one of the very few life time members accepted into the elite acting company. Under Strasberg's tutelage, Gary become one of the highest rated actors on television.
Gary continued his work with Strasberg for eight years while building his career as a working actor in New York and Los Angeles. His movie career kicked off in 1974, and since then he has starred in 15 feature films. He has guest starred in numerous night night time series, Movies Of the Week, theatrical productions and over 150 national network commercials. Some may remember him as "The Irish Spring Man"¯ or the "Foster Grant¯" man.
He has starred in worked with some of the greatest directors in the world - Arthur Hiller, Willaim Friedkin, Peter Masterson, Nicolas Roeg, Dr. Vincent Privitara and Philip Noyce. One of his more recent efforts was as the star in and co-producer of Whiskey School released last year.
His teaching credits are numerous. He started his teaching career with Carlin Glynn at Tajas Productions in 1983. Credits include a summer at Circle In The Square. He taught basic technique at The Actors Studio from 1991-1993. He was invited to the Drama Department at Washington University in St. Louis as a guest artist for one fall semester in 1993.
In 1994 James Lipton and the esteemed executive committee of the Actors Studio - Paul Newman, Norman Mailer, Ellen Burstyn, Estell Parsons, Arthur Penn - asked Gary to be one of four teachers tasked with launching the masters program at the New School of Social Research. He taught that masters program, known on the Bravo Channel as "Inside the Actors Studio," for three years.
Since then, Gary focused more closely on building and forming his own courses. He has been personally coaching many well-known actors, conducting weekly workshops with small groups of developing artists, and in 2006 initiated the deeply impacting Montauk Group summer intensive workshop and theatre group. Only last year did he accept another formal teaching position. In the fall of 2007 Gary taught a semester with ESRA in Association with Brooklyn College a French masters program out of Paris.
The Gary Swanson Montauk Group will start it's third year in July of 2008. A documentary on this summer work at his home in Montauk is now being edited. This last year 2008 will complete the trilogy for the documentary on the acting process.
As a Journalist you can read Gary's column “From An Actors Point Of View” in the monthly Hamptons publication The Montauk Sun. Presently, Gary's script “Lost In The Hamptons” is currently in pre production.
Gary lives between Manhattan and Montauk. He has a love of spirituality and a respect for ancestral divinity. That explains his attachment to an American Indian burial ground in Montauk. His mother is buried there. He once in an interview:
''There's a hill below the Montauk Manor, where in one sweeping view you can see the ocean, the lake, Gardiner's Bay and, on a clear day, Connecticut. This spot has always meant a lot to me because I would come out here as a young kid and fantasize and dream, and it's still exactly like that... You can feel a creative force here, filled with the spirit of the peace-loving Montauk Nation.''