Ben Gazzara

Ben Gazzara

  • Highest Rated: 100% Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
  • Lowest Rated: 0% Shadow Conspiracy (1997)
  • Birthday: Aug 28, 1930
  • Birthplace: New York, New York, USA
  • Both an accomplished character actor and leading man, Ben Gazzara made a name for himself on the stage, screen, and television. The son of an Italian immigrant, Gazzara was born in New York City on August 28, 1930. He channeled his excess energy into acting after dropping out of the engineering department at the City College of New York. After studying at the Actors Studio and with private coach Erwin Piscator, Gazzara exploded onto the Broadway scene in 1953, playing warped military academy upper-classman Jocko De Paris in End as a Man. He went on to create the role of Brick in the original 1955 production of Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. He later starred in Michael V. Gazzo's A Hatful of Rain, only to see his role go to Don Murray in the 1957 movie version, just as Paul Newman would portray Brick in the 1958 film version of Cat. Fortunately, Gazzara was permitted top film billing in 1957, reprising his stage role in End as a Man in the heavily laundered film-version, The Strange One. Two years later, Gazzara played arrogant murder-trial defendant Lieutenant Manion -- the one with the "irresistible impulse" -- in Otto Preminger's Anatomy of a Murder, slyly stealing scenes from the film's "official" star, James Stewart. After this promising beginning in films, Gazzara had trouble finding adequate movie roles. He turned to television in 1963, first as a co-star with Chuck Connors in the experimental 90-minute crime weekly Arrest and Trial. In 1965, Gazzara starred as Paul Bryan, an ex-lawyer with only a short time to live, on the TV popular series Run for Your Life; in spite of his character's fatal illness, Gazzara was able to remain with Run for three healthy seasons. With 1970's Husbands, Gazzara made the first of four film appearances under the direction of his old Actors Studio buddy John Cassavetes. Four years later, Gazzara starred as the Leon Uris counterpart in television's first miniseries, QB VII (1974). In the decades that followed, Gazzara took roles that, while not always prestigious, permitted him ample creative elbow room; a fascinating example of this was his bisexual villain in the Patrick Swayze vehicle Road House (1989). In 1998, he did some of the best work of his career portraying a series of beautifully dysfunctional characters in Buffalo '66, Happiness, and the Coen Brothers' The Big Lebowski. The following year, he traveled into the realm of slick international caper with a supporting role in The Thomas Crown Affair, and then returned to his New York roots to portray the leader of organized crime in the Bronx in Spike Lee's Summer of Sam. Gazzara remained active up through the end of the following decade, continuing to make onscreen appearances even after severe throat cancer that ravaged his vocal chords. He tackled two of his last assignments in the 2006 omnibus picture Paris, je t'aime and the 2008 comedy-drama Looking for Palladin, prior to his death at age 86 in early February 2012.Gazzara was divorced from the late actress Janice Rule.

Photos

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

Movies

Rating

Title

Credit

Box
Office

Year

8% 13 Schlondorff 2011
No Score Yet Holy Money Actor 2009
22% Looking for Palladin Jake Palladin 2008
No Score Yet Chez Gino Actor 2008
87% Paris Je T'aime Ben $4.9M 2007
No Score Yet Pope John Paul II Agostino Casaroli 2005
No Score Yet The Shore Mr. Bob Harris 2005
No Score Yet Pope John Paul II Agostino Casaroli 2005
70% Dogville Jack McKay $1.5M 2003
73% Hysterical Blindness Nick 2002
No Score Yet La Canción de Brian George Halas 2001
No Score Yet The List D.A. Bernard Salman 2000
20% Blue Moon Frank 2000
No Score Yet Shark in a Bottle Actor 2000
No Score Yet Believe Ellicott Winslowe 2000
40% Illuminata Flavio 1999
70% The Thomas Crown Affair Andrew Wallace 1999
51% Summer of Sam Luigi 1999
No Score Yet Jack of Hearts Bartossa 1999
No Score Yet Too Tired to Die John Sage 1998
No Score Yet The Protector Actor 1998
81% Happiness Lenny Jordan 1998
No Score Yet Marilyn In Manhattan Actor 1998
76% Buffalo '66 Jimmy Brown $2.4M 1998
83% The Big Lebowski Jackie Treehorn 1998
89% The Spanish Prisoner Klein 1997
No Score Yet Ladykiller Actor 1997
No Score Yet Vicious Circles March 1997
0% Shadow Conspiracy Vice President Saxon 1997
40% Stag Frank Grieco 1997
No Score Yet Farmer & Chase Farmer 1997
No Score Yet The Dogfighters Dick Althorp 1995
No Score Yet Convict Cowboy Warden Ferguson 1995
No Score Yet Parallel Lives Charlie Duke 1994
No Score Yet Blindsided Ira Gold 1993
No Score Yet Love, Honor & Obey: The Last Mafia Marriage Joseph Bonanno 1993
No Score Yet Lies Before Kisses Grant Sanders 1991
No Score Yet People Like Us Gus Bailey 1990
38% Road House Brad Wesley 1989
No Score Yet Quicker Than the Eye magician Ben Norrell 1988
No Score Yet Control Mike Zella 1987
No Score Yet Il camorrista (The Professor) The Professor 1986
No Score Yet Secret Obsession Paul 1986
No Score Yet An Early Frost Nick Pierson 1985
No Score Yet La Ragazza di Trieste (The Girl from Trieste) Dino Romani 1982
No Score Yet A Question of Honor Joe DeFalco 1982
No Score Yet Storie di Ordinaria Follia (Tales of Ordinary Madness) Charles 1981
44% They All Laughed John Russo 1981
0% Inchon Major Frank Hallsworth 1981
No Score Yet Sidney Sheldon's 'Bloodline' Rhys Williams 1979
No Score Yet Sidney Sheldon's Bloodline Actor 1979
67% Saint Jack Jack Flowers 1979
96% Opening Night Manny Victor 1977
No Score Yet The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald Anson 'Kip' Roberts 1977
No Score Yet Richie George Werner 1977
89% Voyage of the Damned Morris Troper 1976
81% The Killing of a Chinese Bookie Cosmo Vittelli 1976
No Score Yet High Velocity Clifford Baumgartner 1976
No Score Yet Capone Al Capone 1975
No Score Yet QB VII Actor 1974
No Score Yet The Neptune Factor Cmdr. Adrian Blake 1973
No Score Yet Pursuit Steven Graves 1972
No Score Yet Fireball Forward Maj. Gen. Joe Barrett 1972
No Score Yet The Family Rico Eddie Rico 1972
No Score Yet When Michael Calls Actor 1972
69% Husbands Harry 1970
No Score Yet King: A Filmed Record...Montgomery to Memphis Actor 1970
60% If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium Card Player 1969
No Score Yet The Bridge at Remagen Sgt. Angelo 1969
No Score Yet A Rage to Live Roger Bannon 1965
No Score Yet Carol for Another Christmas Fred 1964
No Score Yet Convicts 4 John Resko 1962
No Score Yet The Young Doctors Dr. David Coleman 1961
No Score Yet The Passionate Thief Lello $31.3K 1960
No Score Yet Laughs Of Joy (Risate DI Gioia) Actor 1960
100% Anatomy of a Murder Lt. Frederick Manion 1959
No Score Yet The Strange One Jocko De Paris 1957
No Score Yet I'll Cry Tomorrow Bit: Card Player 1955

TV

Rating

Title

Credit

Year

No Score Yet Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
1999
ADA Villani
  • 2001
No Score Yet Columbo
1968-2003
Director
  • 1975
  • 1974

QUOTES FROM Ben Gazzara CHARACTERS

Jackie Treehorn
People forget the brain is the biggest erogenous zone.
Brad Wesley
You lost your faith Strodenmire. That's what it is! Made you an Abussa!