John Cassavetes Overview:

Legendary actor, John Cassavetes, was born John Nicholas Cassavetes on Dec 9, 1929 in New York City, NY. Cassavetes died at the age of 59 on Feb 3, 1989 in Los Angeles, CA and was laid to rest in Westwood Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles, CA.


Spare, dark, lean-and-hungry-looking American actor who largely escaped the gangster roles for which his Italianate features seemed to destine him. Also a director of critical acclaim, although his films' public appeal remained limited. His biggest popular success was a TV series, Johnny Staccato. He married actress Gena Rowlands, subsequent star of many of his films. Oscar-nominated for The Dirty Dozen, he died at 59 from complications arising from cirrhosis of the liver.

(Source: available at Amazon Quinlan's Film Stars).



Although Cassavetes was nominated for three Oscars, he never won a competitive Academy Award.

Academy Awards

YearAwardFilm nameRoleResult
1967Best Supporting ActorThe Dirty Dozen (1967)Victor FrankoNominated
1968Best WritingFaces (1968)N/ANominated
1974Best DirectorA Woman under the Influence (1974)N/ANominated

Cassavetes was immortalized on a US postal stamp in 2003.

BlogHub Articles:

A Child Is Waiting (1963, )

By Andrew Wickliffe on Jun 6, 2018 From The Stop Button

A Child Is Waiting had all kinds of production clashes between producer Stanley Kramer and director Cassavetes. And, apparently, between stars Burt Lancaster and Judy Garland and director Cassavetes. Kramer even fired Cassavetes during editing; none of those problems come through in the finished pro... Read full article

Gena Rowlands and : Each Other’s Muse…

By Christy Putnam on Jan 23, 2016 From Christy Putnam

As I was unsure of what “symbiotic” meant in the context of actors and directors, I began to travel to the land of the “lexicons,” a green, fertile place found only in the imagination. Sometimes there’s a pot of gold, and sometimes there is a cold, hard fact that canno... Read full article

Video of the Week: Los Angeles, The City in Cinema: The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (, 1978)

By Marisa on Aug 26, 2015 From The Timothy Carey Experience

Our video this week is a thoughtful analysis by essayist Colin Marshall of ‘ The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1978 director’s cut) as it relates to the city of Los Angeles itself. Timothy is briefly glimpsed in the restaurant scene in which Mort (Seymour Cassel) delivers t... Read full article


By Marisa on Dec 9, 2014 From The Timothy Carey Experience

“You can defeat fear through humor, through pain, through honesty, bravery, intuition, and through love in the truest sense.” – , born this date in 1929. A great friend and mentor to Timothy. Would that the both of them were still with us, but their spirits live on. ... Read full article

Criterion: Shadows,

By Aaron West on Aug 2, 2014 From Criterion Blues

Aug 2 Posted by aaronwest SHADOWS, , 1959 As I watched ? first film, I was struck immediately by how different it was from the films of the era, and how much in common it had with the French New Wave films that were just about to burst onto the scene. I have no idea wh... Read full article

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John Cassavetes Quotes:

Hank McCain: What do you do? Sell women? Sell marijuana? - what d'you do? Where'd you get the twenty-five thousand? I wouldn't give you twenty-five cents. What d'you do? - you go out and you hustle yourself all over the street. Small time - no dignity! You don't beg.
Jack McCain: That's why, Hank - I need this chance. I got tired of being small change.
Hank McCain: You're gonna be small change all your life.

Leroy: Well, I'll tell you one thing, you're lucky the man wasn't around.
Cody: The man *was* there. Every time we go out we come face to face with the man.
Joel-the-Mole: We take one drink and there's the man, and we hop on our sickles and the man's on our tail.
Cody: Look, the man is out there, and he's gonna bust us all.

Rosemary Woodhouse: I dreamed someone was raping me. I think it was someone inhuman.
Guy Woodhouse: Thanks a lot.

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Best Supporting Actor Oscar 1967

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John Cassavetes Facts
Acted in films by other directors in order to finance his own projects.

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)

Adhered to the Stanislavsky school of Method acting and taught acting classes in 1956, prior to making the film 'Shadows'.

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