Ben Gazzara - Rotten Tomatoes

Ben Gazzara

Highest Rated:   100% Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
Lowest Rated:   0% Shadow Conspiracy (1997)
Birthday:  
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 Christopher Roth
  • Actor
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
70% 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
38% 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
85% Happiness
  • Lenny Jordan
1998
No Score Yet Marilyn In Manhattan
  • Actor
1998
76% Buffalo '66
  • Jimmy Brown
$2.4M 1998
81% The Big Lebowski
  • Jackie Treehorn
1998
88% 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 Lies Before Kisses
  • Grant Sanders
1991
No Score Yet People Like Us
  • Gus Bailey
1990
38% Road House
  • Brad Wesley
1989
No Score Yet Secret Obsession
  • Paul
1988
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
  • Actor
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
33% 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
62% Saint Jack
  • Jack Flowers
1979
92% 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
77% 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 When Michael Calls
  • Actor
1972
71% Husbands
  • Harry
1970
No Score Yet King: A Filmed Record...Montgomery to Memphis
  • Actor
1970
No Score Yet 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's Characters