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R.I.P. Ben Gazzara (1930-2012)

by Kevin Jagernauth
February 4, 2012 7:58 PM
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Ben Gazzara

February has kicked off on a sad note this year, as respected and beloved character actor Ben Gazzara has passed way at the age of 81 from pancreatic cancer.

Gazzara first earned notice for this role on the NBC series "Run For Your Life" in the 1960s, a part that would earn him three Golden Globe nominations, however, it was his work with John Cassavetes would mark the most memorable and influential of his career. As part of the director's regular retinue, he starred in "Husbands," "The Killing Of A Chinese Bookie" and "Opening Night." And as actors they both appeared together in "If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium" and "Capone."

The actor also found a fan in Peter Bogdanovich, who directed him in the cult favorite "Saint Jack" and the infamous "They All Laughed." "I don't think they make actors like Ben anymore. I'm going to miss him a lot," the director told IndieWire.

Thoughout the '80s the actor continued to work, earning an Emmy nomination for "An Early Frost," but a new generation of filmmakers, influenced and inspired by '70s cinema, would give him a string of roles that would bring his talents to a new generation of movie fans. Working with a wide array of talent ranging from the Coen Brothers (playing Jackie Treehorn in "The Big Lebowski"), Lars Von Trier ("Dogville"), Vincent Gallo ("Buffalo '66"), Spike Lee ("Summer Of Sam"), Todd Solondz ("Happiness") and David Mamet ("The Spanish Prisoner"), Gazzara found fresh and vital work in the latter part of his career.

Whether it was roughing it up with Patrick Swayze in "Road House" or working with Otto Preminger in "Anatomy Of A Murder," Gazzara moved fluidly from the big to small screen, in projects ranging from arthouse pictures to indie dramas to just plain old popcorn entertainment, and he did it with ease. His presence in a film was always one to look forward to, a consummate professional, peerless actor and always a joy to watch. He will be missed. [THR/LA Times]

Buffalo '66
Extrait 1 vost publié par - Les sorties ciné en vidéo

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  • Jacques DeMolay | February 6, 2012 1:26 PMReply

    Ben Gazzara treats objects like women.

  • hank | February 5, 2012 3:29 AMReply

    One of the all time greats. seeing 'Husbands' for the first time was one of the greatest viewing experience I'll ever have. Watching that old Dick Cavett interview, it's so sad to realize all three of the stars of that film are gone now.

  • hank | February 5, 2012 3:31 AM

  • goatshead | February 5, 2012 1:05 AMReply

    Chinese bookie without a doubt

  • Sage | February 5, 2012 12:12 AMReply

    Gazzara was old school, loved him Run for Your Life. One of the coolest

  • maicol | February 4, 2012 11:26 PMReply

    No one cares to comment on the loss of this beautiful bastard? Maybe people need an ice breaker. What is your favorite Ben Gazzara film? At which moment were you blown away?

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