Ben Gazzara

About Ben Gazzara

Who is it?: Actor, Director, Soundtrack
Birth Day: August 28, 1930
Birth Place:  Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States
Died On: February 3, 2012(2012-02-03) (aged 81)\nNew York City, New York, U.S.
Birth Sign: Virgo
Cause of death: Pancreatic cancer
Education: City College of New York
Alma mater: The New School, Actors Studio
Occupation: Actor
Years active: 1953–2012
Spouse(s): Louise Erickson (m. 1951; div. 1957) Janice Rule (m. 1961; div. 1979) Elke Krivat (m. 1982)
Children: 2

Ben Gazzara Net Worth

Ben Gazzara was bornon August 28, 1930 in  Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States, is Actor, Director, Soundtrack. Ben Gazzara's screen career began with two critically acclaimed roles as heavies in the late 1950s. He turned to television in the 1960s but made a big screen comeback with roles in three John Cassavetes films in the 1970s. The 1980s and 1990s saw Gazzara work more frequently than ever before in character parts. If he never became the leading man his early films and stage work promised, he had a career notable for its longevity. He was born Biagio Anthony Gazzara on August 28, 1930, in New York City. The son of a Sicilian immigrant laborer, he grew up on New York's tough Lower East Side. After seeing Laurette Taylor in "The Glass Menagerie," Gazzara decided he wanted to become an actor. He studied engineering (unhappily) but quit after receiving an acting scholarship (he worked under well-known coach Erwin Piscator).Gazzara then joined the Actors Studio, where a group of students improvised a play from Calder Willingham's novel End as a Man. The tale of a brutal southern military academy reached Broadway slightly changed in 1953 but with Gazzara still in the principal role. It was a star making part (he won a Theatre World award) and he then played leads in the original productions of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" (1955) and "A Hatful of Rain" (1955) (he was nominated for a Tony). Bigger names Paul Newman and Don Murray played those last two roles on the big screen but Gazzara made his movie debut in The Strange One (1957) the film version of "End as a Man." The film was a critical but not commercial success. His next role was as the defendant in Anatomy of a Murder (1959) which was a big hit.Gazzara followed this with an Italian venture co-starring Anna Magnani, Risate di gioia (1960), two Hollywood films The Young Doctors (1961) and Convicts 4 (1962) and then another Italian film La città prigioniera (1962). None of these did much for his career, and he turned to television. He appeared in the successful series Arrest and Trial (1963) and Run for Your Life (1965). In between, he made A Rage to Live (1965), a film version of John O'Hara's novel. He returned to films in The Bridge at Remagen (1969) and with a cameo appearance in If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium (1969). His buddy in the cameo was John Cassavetes, who directed and co-starred with him in Husbands (1970), a critical success. Gazzara made two more well-received films with his good friend Cassavetes: The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976) and Opening Night (1977).Gazzara's other films in the 1970s were undistinguished apart from the sprawling Voyage of the Damned (1976) and a rare leading role in director Peter Bogdanovich's Saint Jack (1979). Bloodline (1979) and They All Laughed (1981) (also directed by Bogdanovich) were only notable because of Gazzara's off-screen relationship with co-star Audrey Hepburn (ironically, Gazzara had declined to make his screen debut in War and Peace (1956) starring Hepburn). Storie di ordinaria follia (1981) was another lead for Gazzara, but it received a mixed critical reception. Other big-screen roles in the 1980s were scarce apart from Road House (1989), a Patrick Swayze vehicle that Gazzara believed out of all his films had been the most repeated on television. He worked much on the small screen, including the groundbreaking television movie An Early Frost (1985), playing the father of an AIDS victim.The 1990s saw Gazzara working like never before, appearing in 38 films. Most were for free-to-air television or cable but he also worked on the big screen in The Spanish Prisoner (1997), The Big Lebowski (1998), Happiness (1998) and Summer of Sam (1999). His television work included a guest appearance as an executive assistant attorney in a 2001 episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999) a nice touch sinceArrest and Trial (1963) was the predecessor of Law & Order (1990) and its spin-off series.Gazzara has often returned to the stage throughout his career-in "The Night Circus" (1958) (where he met second wife Janice Rule), "Strange Interlude" (1963), "Traveller Without Luggage" (1964), Hughie/Duet (1975) (nominated for a Tony), "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (1976) (again Tony nominated), and "Shimada" (1992). He has also worked as a director on episodes his series Run for Your Life (1965) and The Name of the Game (1968) and the television movies Columbo: A Friend in Deed (1974) and Columbo: Troubled Waters (1975) featuring his friend Peter Falk. The unreleased Oltre l'oceano (1990) (which he also wrote) was his final film as a director.In 2003 Gazzara appeared in the independent Dogville (2003) adding Lars von Trier to the list of interesting and acclaimed directors with whom he has worked. There can't be many actors who can boast that they have acted in films by Otto Preminger (Anatomy of a Murder (1959)), John Cassavetes, Joel Coen (The Big Lebowski (1998)), Spike Lee (Summer of Sam (1999)), and Lars von Trier, among others. Ben Gazzara died at age 81 of pancreatic cancer on February 3, 2012.
Ben Gazzara is a member of Actor

💰 Net worth: $850,000

Some Ben Gazzara images

Biography/Timeline

1953

Gazzara received acclaim for his off-Broadway performance in End as a Man in 1953. The production was transferred to Broadway and run until 1954.

1954

In 1954, Gazzara (having modified his original surname from "Gazzarra") made several appearances on NBC's legal drama Justice, based on case studies from the Legal Aid Society of New York.

1955

Gazzara became a Broadway sensation when he created the role of Brick in Tennessee Williams' Cat On A Hot Tin Roof (1955-56) opposite Barbara Bel Geddes, directed by Elia Kazan, although he lost out to Paul Newman when the film version was cast. He followed it with another long run in A Hatful of Rain (1956)

1957

He joined other Actors Studio members in the 1957 film The Strange One produced by Sam Spiegel. He had a Broadway flop with The Night Circus (1958).

1959

Then came a high-profile performance as a soldier on trial for avenging his wife's rape in Otto Preminger's courtroom drama Anatomy of a Murder (1959).

1960

He went to Italy to make a comedy The Passionate Thief (1960) with Anna Magnani and Totò. Back in the US he was second billed in The Young Doctors (1961) and starred in Convicts 4 (1962). He returned to Italy to make The Captive City (1962) with David Niven.

1961

Gazzara was married three times; First to Actress Louise Erickson (1951–57). He married Actress Janice Rule on November 25, 1961 in San Francisco. They had a daughter named Elizabeth. He married model Elke Krivat in 1982 and remained married to her until his death. Gazzara adopted his wife's daughter Danja from her prior relationship. Following his separation from his first wife, Gazzara was engaged to stage Actress Elaine Stritch and later disclosed a love affair with Actress Audrey Hepburn. He and Hepburn co-starred in two of her final films, Bloodline (1979) and They All Laughed (1981).

1963

Gazzara became well known in several television series, beginning with Arrest and Trial, which ran from 1963 to 1964 on ABC. He also appeared in the TV special A Carol for Another Christmas (1964) and had a short Broadway run in A Traveller without Luggage in 1964.

1965

Gazzara was the male lead in A Rage to Live (1965) with Suzanne Pleshette. He gained fame in the TV series Run for Your Life which ran from 1965 to 1968 on NBC, in which he played a terminally ill man trying to get the most out of the last two years of his life. For his work in the series, Gazzara received two Emmy nominations for "Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series" and three Golden Globe nominations for "Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama."

1968

In 1968, during filming of the war movie The Bridge at Remagen, co-starring Gazzara and friend Robert Vaughn, the Soviet Union and its allies invaded Czechoslovakia. The cast and crew were detained for a time; filming was later completed in West Germany. During their departure from Czechoslovakia, Gazzara and Vaughn assisted with the escape of a Czech waitress whom they had befriended. They smuggled her to Austria in a car waved through a border crossing that had not yet been taken over by the Soviet army in its crackdown on the Prague Spring.

1969

When the series ended Gazzara had a cameo in If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium (1969) and a lead in the wartime action film The Bridge at Remagen (1969).

1970

Some of the actor's most formidable characters were those he created with his friend John Cassavetes in the 1970s. They collaborated for the first time on Cassavetes's film Husbands (1970), in which he appeared alongside Peter Falk and Cassavetes himself.

1972

Gazzara starred in a TV movie, Pursuit (1972), the directorial debut of Michael Crichton. He made The Sicilian Connection (1972) in Italy, and did a science fiction film The Neptune Factor (1973).

1974

In addition to acting, Gazzara worked as an occasional television director; his credits include the Columbo episodes A Friend in Deed (1974) and Troubled Waters (1975). Gazzara was nominated three times for the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play—in 1956 for A Hatful of Rain, in 1975 for the paired short plays Hughie and Duet, and in 1977 for a revival of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, opposite Colleen Dewhurst.

1975

Gazzara appeared on Broadway in Hughie (1975) then worked again for Cassavetes as Director in The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976), in which Gazzara took the leading role of the hapless strip-joint owner, Cosmo Vitelli. He starred in an action movie, High Velocity (1976) and was one of many stars in Voyage of the Damned (1976).

1976

Gazzarra returned to Broadway for a production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? with Colleen Dewhurst in 1976.

1977

A year later, he starred in yet another Cassavetes-directed movie, Opening Night, as stage Director Manny Victor, who struggles with the mentally unstable star of his show, played by Cassavetes's wife Gena Rowlands. He made an acclaimed TV movie The Death of Richie (1977).

1979

Gazzara was the honorary starter of the 1979 Daytona 500, the first flag-to-flag Daytona 500 broadcast live on CBS. He was also featured in a 1994 article in Cigar Aficionado, in which he admitted smoking four packs of cigarettes a day until taking up cigar smoking in the mid-1960s.

1981

Gazzara made some films in Europe: Tales of Ordinary Madness (1981), The Girl from Trieste (1982), A Proper Scandal (1984), My Dearest Son. He starred with Rowlands in the critically acclaimed AIDS-themed TV movie An Early Frost (1985), for which he received his third Emmy nomination.

1990

Gazzara appeared in 38 films, many for television, in the 1990s. He worked with a number of renowned Directors, such as the Coen brothers (The Big Lebowski), Spike Lee (Summer of Sam), David Mamet (The Spanish Prisoner), Walter Hugo Khouri (Forever), Vincent Gallo (Buffalo '66), Todd Solondz (Happiness), John Turturro (Illuminata), and John McTiernan (The Thomas Crown Affair).

1998

Gazzara told Charlie Rose in 1998 that he went from being mainly a stage actor who often would turn up his nose at film roles in the mid-1950s to, much later, a ubiquitous character actor who turned very little down. "When I became hot, so to speak, in the theater, I got a lot of offers," he said. "I won't tell you the pictures I turned down because you'll say, 'You are a fool,' and I was a fool."

2003

In his seventies, Gazzara continued to be active. In 2003, he appeared in Nobody Don't Like Yogi, an off Broadway show about Yogi Berra which had a solid run and was in a revival of Awake and Sing! (2006).

2005

He was in the ensemble cast of the experimental film Dogville, directed by Lars von Trier of Denmark and starring Nicole Kidman, as well as the television film Hysterical Blindness (he received an Emmy Award for his role). In 2005, he played Agostino Casaroli in the television miniseries, Pope John Paul II. He completed filming his scenes in the film The Wait in early 2012, shortly before his death.

2012

Gazzara was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1999. He suffered a stroke in 2005. On February 3, 2012, he died of pancreatic cancer at Bellevue Hospital Center in New York.

2013

Gazzara was born in New York City, the son of Italian immigrants Angelina (née Cusumano) and Antonio Gazzarra, a laborer and carpenter, each of Sicilian origin – Angelina from Castrofilippo and Antonio from Canicattì in the province of Agrigento. Gazzara grew up in New York's Kips Bay neighborhood; he lived on East 29th Street and participated in the drama program at Madison Square Boys and Girls Club located across the street. He attended New York City's Stuyvesant High School, but finally graduated from Saint Simon Stock in the Bronx. Years later, he said that the discovery of his love for acting saved him from a life of crime during his teen years.