Betty Cashman, Influential Acting and Speech Coach, Dead at 90

News   Betty Cashman, Influential Acting and Speech Coach, Dead at 90 Betty Cashman, an acting coach and public speaking teacher who worked with stars of the stage, screen and political arena, died in New York City Aug. 15, at the age of 90, according to friends.

Betty Cashman, an acting coach and public speaking teacher who worked with stars of the stage, screen and political arena, died in New York City Aug. 15, at the age of 90, according to friends.

The New York native's students included Tony Curtis, the Gabor sisters, Jack Palance, New York City Mayor John Lindsay, Nancy Sinatra, Gene Shalit, CIA director William Casey and more, according to obituary information published by family and colleagues.

Ms. Cashman was a drama coach, author, actress and director over the years. In 1947, she founded the Betty Cashman Drama Studios. Her books include "Betty Cashman and you in — Personality, Acting and Public Speaking" (1950), "Successful Self-Expression Course" (1954) and "Thoughts for Actors and You" (1958).

As an actress, she made her stage debut at four in Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch for the Poughkeepsie Players, and her New York City debut was in Honor Code at the Vanderbilt Theatre in 1931, followed by Moon Over Mulberry Street at the Lyceum Theatre in 1935. For the Professional Players Guild, she appeared in Preferred and The Torch-Bearers. For the Mansfield Players, she toured in The Merchant of Venice (as Portia) and The Taming of the Shrew (as Katharine), 1940 42.

She studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Juilliard School of Music and Columbia University. She directed for the stage and served as an acting coach for New York productions (including Anna Lucasta, Polonaise, Rhapsody). She was also a radio actress. Ms. Cashman received the Show Business Award for "outstanding development of new talent" (1955-58) and her writing earned her honorary membership into the International Mark Twain Society. A celebration of her life is planned for the future.

— By Kenneth Jones