Stella Adler was born on February 10, 1901 in New York City’s Lower East Side. Her parents, Sara Levitsky and Jacob Adler, were among the Yiddish theater elite.
The whole family acted in Jacob Adler’s company, the Independent Yiddish Artists Company, which was known for putting on Yiddish translations of classical plays, such as those by Shakespeare, Tolstoy, and Ibsen.
Stella Adler debuted at the age of four in Broken Hearts, and throughout her childhood she played boys as well as girls. Stella attended the socialist Workers School and New York University.