Judith Malina is a German-born American theater and film actress, writer, and director. She was one of the founders of The Living Theatre, a radical political theatre troupe that rose to prominence in New York City and Paris during the 1950s and 60s. She lives in New York City.
She trained with Erwin Piscator at the New School for Social Research in New York, where the pioneering director established a "Dramatic Workshop,” during his exile from Nazi Germany in the mid-1940's.
In 1947 she and painter Julian Beck founded The Living Theatre as an artistic and socially-conscious alternative to the commercial theater. Since then she has directed (and often acted in) more than sixty important productions which have hadconsiderable influence on the development of contemporary theater, including William Carlos Williams' Many Loves, Jack Gelber's The Connection, Kenneth H. Brown’s The Brig, Bertolt Brecht'sAntigone and the collective creations Mysteries and Smaller Pieces,Frankenstein, Paradise Now and The Legacy of Cain.
Judith Malina, along with The Living Theatre Company, has been arrested and imprisoned in various countries for the theatrical expression of the group's anarchist-pacifist principle. Following the untimely death of Julian Beck in 1984 she has directed the company alongside Hanon Reznikov, whom she married in 1988. Malina is also the author of numerous published essays on theater and politics, diaries, poems and plays and occasionally appears as an actress in films (Dog Day Afternoon,China Girl, Awakenings, Enemies: a Love Story, The Addams Family,Household Saints and When in Rome) and television (Miami Vice,Tribeca, ER, The Sopranos). She has taught at Columbia University, New York University, the New School for Social Research and is a 1996 recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from Whittier College. In 1999, she and Hanon Reznikov opened the Centro Living Europa, the European headquarters of The Living Theatre in the Palazzo Spinola of Rocchetta Ligure, Italy.
In 1975 Malina was given a lifetime achievement Obie award, she was a recipient of a 1985 Guggenheim award, in 2003 Malina was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame, and in 2008 she was awarded the Brazilian President's Medal for Outstanding Artistic Achievement.
In 2007, The Living Theatre inaugurated a new, performance space on the Lower East Side of New York City. The theatre opened with an incredibly successful revival ofThe Brig directed by Malina, which was awarded Obies for Best Ensemble and Best Direction and is still touring in Europe.