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BIOGRAPHY 

JOHN CASSAVETES

John Cassavetes (1929–1989)Actor | Director | Writer

Date of Birth 9 December 1929, New York City, New York, USA
Date of Death 3 February 1989, Los Angeles, California, USA  (cirrhosis of the liver)
Birth Name John Nicholas Cassavetes
Height 5' 7" (1.7 m)


John Cassavetes was born on December 9, 1929 in New York City, New York, USA as John Nicholas Cassavetes. He was an actor and director, known for Rosemary's Baby (1968), The Dirty Dozen (1967) and Opening Night (1977). He was married to Gena Rowlands. He died on February 3, 1989 in Los Angeles, California, USA.


Spouse (1)

Gena Rowlands (9 April 1954 - 3 February 1989) (his death) (3 children)

Extreme close-ups, with the image going in and out of focus
Realistic, documentary-like films


Father of Nick Cassavetes, Xan Cassavetes and Zoe R. Cassavetes. Son of Nicholas John Cassavetes and Katherine Cassavetes.
Friend/actor Peter Falk said: "Cassavetes was the most fervent man I ever met, and he didn't have a copy-cat bone in his body."
A photograph of Cassavetes, taken during the production of his film Husbands (1970), appears on one stamp of a sheet of 10 USA 37¢ commemorative postage stamps, issued 25 February 2003, celebrating American Filmmaking: Behind the Scenes. The stamp honors directing.
Educated at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City.
Biography in: John Wakeman, editor. "World Film Directors, Volume Two, 1945-1985". Pages 189-194. New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1988.
Friend/actor Peter Falk said: 'Every Cassavetes film is always about the same thing. Somebody said 'Man is God in ruins,' and John saw the ruins with a clarity that you and I could not tolerate.'.
In Ray Carney's "Cassavetes on Cassavetes" book, Cassavetes confessed to his parents that he wanted to be an actor. His father wasn't initially thrilled at the idea of his son being an actor, but told him that he had to work hard because he would be portraying human emotions truthfully.
He was fully Greek in heritage.
Auditioned for The Actors Studio when he was starting out as an actor, but was rejected.
Despite many claiming that his films are improvised, it's actually a completed script that comes from improvised work by the actors. Another trademark of his films is that they're shot documentary-style.
He and Gena Rowlands made ten movies together: A Child Is Waiting (1963), Faces (1968), Machine Gun McCain (1969), Minnie and Moskowitz (1971), A Woman Under the Influence (1974), Two-Minute Warning (1976), Opening Night (1977), Gloria (1980), Tempest (1982) and Love Streams (1984).
Directed 3 different actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Seymour Cassel, Lynn Carlin and Gena Rowlands.
He and his good friend Ben Gazzara made 5 movies together: Husbands (1970), Capone (1975), If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium (1969), Opening Night (1977) and The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976)
He and close friend Peter Falk made six movies together: Machine Gun McCain (1969), Husbands (1970), A Woman Under the Influence (1974), Mikey and Nicky (1976), Opening Night (1977), Big Trouble (1986), and one movie made for TV: Columbo: Étude in Black (1972).
As of 2007, he is one of only eight filmmakers to be nominated for best directing, writing, and acting Oscars over the course of their lifetime. The other seven are Orson Welles, Woody Allen, Warren Beatty, George Clooney, Roberto Benigni, John Huston and Kenneth Branagh.
Son-in-law of Lady Rowlands.
Brother-in-law of David Rowlands.
As of 2013, he is one of six men who has directed his wife to a Best Actress Oscar nomination, and is the only one to have directed her to two such nominations (Gena Rowlands in A Woman Under the Influence (1974) and Gloria (1980)). The other five are Paul Czinner directing Elisabeth Bergner in Escape Me Never (1935), Paul Newman directing Joanne Woodward in Rachel, Rachel (1968), Richard Brooks directing Jean Simmons in The Happy Ending (1969), Blake Edwards directing Julie Andrews in Victor Victoria (1982), and Joel Coen directing Frances McDormand in Fargo (1996). Jules Dassin also directed his future wife Melina Mercouri in a Best Actress Oscar-nominated performance (Never on Sunday (1960)), though they were not yet married at the time of the nomination.
One of the screening rooms at the Thessaloniki Film Festival is named after him.
Adhered to the Stanislavsky School of Method Acting and taught acting classes in 1956 (in his own workshop that he started) prior to making the film Shadows (1959) .
Acted in films by other directors in order to finance his own projects.
While some of his Hollywood films (such as Too Late Blues (1961)) lost money, his own movies were often hugely successful. Shadows (1959), filmed with non-professional actors on the streets of New York with a hand-held camera on 16mm black & white film, cost a mere $40,000 and recouped its cost many times over, winning the 1960 Critics Award at the Venice Film Festival. Another of his films, Faces (1968), cost $1 million and made ten times as much in profits, as well as taking out another five prizes in Venice in 1970.
Actor and film director who was regarded as a pioneer of American cinema verité.
The New Yorker magazine said in 2013 that Cassavetes "may be the most influential American director of the last half century" --this on the eve of the screening of all of the films he directed, at the BAM Theater in Brooklyn, NY throughout July 2013.
He was considered for the role of Tom Hagen in The Godfather (1972) before Robert Duvall was cast.
Retrospective: Screening of all the films Cassavetes directed, plus some he acted in, at Brooklyn Academy of Music, July 6-31. [July 2013]
He played the brother of his real life wife Gena Rowlands in Love Streams (1984).
Retrospective at the 1st American Film Festival (2010) in Wroclaw, Poland.
He directed Val Avery in five films: Too Late Blues (1961), Faces (1968), Minnie and Moskowitz (1971), The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976) and Gloria (1980).
He directed Fred Draper in five films: A Child Is Waiting (1963), Faces (1968), Husbands (1970), A Woman Under the Influence (1974) and Opening Night (1977).