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Overview for Ben Gazzara
Ben Gazzara

Ben Gazzara


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Also Known As: Died: February 3, 2012
Born: August 28, 1930 Cause of Death: Pancreatic Cancer
Birth Place: New York, New York, USA Profession: Cast ...


"John [Cassavetes] and Benny had a great artistic understanding, and I think Benny was relieved to find someone like John, who took things as seriously as he did. We felt it was important, the acting and the words, and there was a complete giving over of yourself to the work. Nobody read trade papers on our sets." --Gena Rowlands to Los Angeles Times, April 12, 1998.

"Ben and John [Cassavetes] shared a celebratory spirit, a graciousness towards people and a kind of male warmth that's very inviting and doesn't exist much anymore. They were comfortable in their own skin--and that has probably something to do with the fact that Ben's been absent from American movies for a while. The characters we're following now aren't comfortable in their skin, and contemporary writing is about smaller characters than Ben is. There's something so energized and unapologetically male about Ben--he's a throwback to an American archetype associated with Hemingway." --Sean Penn to Los Angeles Times, April 12, 1998.

"I've always been intrigued with personal films, to my own disadvantage. I've been a renegade sort of outside the system for a long time. But thank God, the young directors who are getting a shot to make films are seeking me out. Working with those kids who are so talented, I'm so flattered ... not only because of me, but because of my work with John [Cassavetes]. I'm sure that has a great influence on it. It's great that John is finally getting his heyday here in this country that didn't give him any breaks when he was alive."

"John hated structure. Predictable structure. He hated drawing conclusions about people. That's why he could even make insanity amusing. Why he could defend insanity as a human condition that should be respected. He was not interested in making plot points. He was more interested in finding the surprise within individuals. The opposite of what you'd expect.

"Of course, he was generous. He shot an awful lot of film. An awful lot. And it was his money. That's why it took him so long in the cutting room. He could have made three or four films out of the material he had. I saw him cutting "Husbands". He had a delivery date. He was working until the last moment. His eyeballs were bleeding in that cutting room." --Ben Gazzara quoted in Detour, June-July 1998.

Received a lifetime-career award at the Fort Lauderdale (Florida) Film Festival in 1998

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