Actor, Director, Producer, Screenwriter, Editor
Died when: 59 years 56 days
Star Sign: Sagittarius
John Nicholas Cassavetes (Greek: Ιωάννης Νικόλαος Κασσαβέτης, ; December 9, 1929 – February 3, 1989) was an American actor, film director, and screenwriter. First known as an actor on television and in film, Cassavetes also became a pioneer of American independent cinema, writing and directing movies financed in part with income from his acting work. AllMovie called him "an iconoclastic maverick," while The New Yorker suggested that he "may be the most influential American director of the last half century." As an actor, Cassavetes starred in notable Hollywood films throughout the 1950s and 1960s, including Edge of the City (1957), The Dirty Dozen (1967), and Rosemary's Baby (1968). He began his directing career with the 1959 independent feature Shadows and followed with independent productions such as Faces (1968), Husbands (1970), A Woman Under the Influence (1974), Opening Night (1977), and Love Streams (1984). He intermittently continued to work on studio projects such as Elaine May's Mikey and Nicky (1976) and his own Gloria (1980). Cassavetes' films employed an actor-centered approach which privileged character examination and "small feelings" over traditional Hollywood storytelling or stylized production values. His films became associated with an improvisational, cinéma vérité aesthetic. He collaborated frequently with a rotating group of friends, crew members, and actors, including his wife Gena Rowlands, Peter Falk, Ben Gazzara, and Seymour Cassel. Many of his films were shot and edited in his and Rowland's own Los Angeles home. For his role in The Dirty Dozen, Cassavetes received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. As a filmmaker, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Faces (1968)and the Academy Award for Best Director for A Woman Under the Influence (1974). The Independent Spirit Awards named the John Cassavetes Award in his honor.