Attended NYC's famed Stuyvesant High School.
Claimed that of all of the movies in which he has ever appeared in, Road House (1989) is the most frequently repeated on television.
Diagnosed with throat cancer in 1999. He lost more than 40 pounds during treatment.
Died on the anniversary of the death of his close friend, John Cassavetes, on February 3, 2012.
He and his good friend John Cassavetes 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)
He caught the acting bug when he was 11 years old and watched one of his friends act in a play at the Madison Square Boys Club.
He is survived by his daughter, Elizabeth Gazzara, from his second marriage to Janice Rule; his third wife, Elke Stuckmann (married since 1982); his adopted daughter, Danja Gazzara, from Elke's previous marriage; and brother, Anthony Gazzara.
He met radio actress, Louise Erickson, who would be his first wife. Their marriage ended in divorce in 1957. In 1961, he married actress Janice Rule and had a daughter, Elizabeth Gazzara. Their marriage ended in divorce in 1982. He met Elke Stuckmann in 1979 and married her in 1982.
He studied drama at the Dramatic Workshop in Midtown Manhattan in New York City. He studied with Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio in New York City in 1951.
He was born on the East Side of Manhattan in New York City to Antonio Gazzara and Angela Cusumano Gazzara, both Italian immigrants, who immigrated from Italy. They often spoke Italian at home. He grew up in a building at 29th Street and 1st Avenue where he slept on the fire escape in summer and occasionally heard screams from the patients at the Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital in New York City.
In the 1980s, he had a village in Umbria, Italy where he spent time in Italian films.
Lived with Elaine Stritch for two years.
Shared a "purist's" approach to acting and choosing roles with Road House (1989) co-star Sam Elliott.