Gary Schwartz is an award-winning TV and film actor, director, comedian and a master improvisational acting coach whose 30 years as a performer and improv teacher has helped transform the lives of thousands of people, both on- and off-screen.
It was Gary’s 18-year association with world-renowned theater educator and author Viola Spolin – famous for training the very first improv theater troupe in the US which led to the creation of today’s Second City improv troupe – that provided the foundation for his work today. In 1988 Gary co-founded the Spolin Players improv troupe (spolinplayers.com), and is the only master teacher to have ever earned an endorsement from both Viola Spolin and her son, the legendary original director of Second City, Paul Sills.
Originally from New York State, Gary began his professional career as a mime at age 13, performing up and down the Hudson River with Pete Seegar, Arlo Guthrie and other great folk entertainers of the 60’s. In the 70’s and 80’s he appeared in numerous film and television projects including the Oscar-winning feature film Quest for Fire and 65 episodes of the Emmy-winning series Zoobilee Zoo with Ben Vereen. As a voice actor, Gary has worked with Robert Redford, Barbra Streisand, Tim Burton, Kenneth Brannagh and many other well-known directors. Details of his extensive acting career are available at IMDB.com.
Today, Gary is a passionate, dynamic improv coach and facilitator. He is the founder of Improv Odyssey, an exciting approach to changing the way people work and play, based on Spolin’s techniques. He serves on the counsel of the newly formed Screen Actors Guild, SAG-AFTRA, Seattle branch, and is the founder and Artistic Director of the Seattle area Valley Center Stage Community Theater.