"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Death of a Hard Guy

Ben Gazzara died today. He was 81. I was friendly with his daughter Liz for a while in the 1990s when she worked in film editing. She was a smart and funny lady–still is, I expect.

I met the old man on the set of “The Big Lebowski.” It was night and I was on crutches. I hopped from my car down to the set. The Coens filmed ┬áTreehorn’s pad in a fantastic and weird house in the Hollywood Hills (a location that has been used many times in movies and TV commercials). As I approached the house, Gazzara came out, wearing his white suit, and holding a drink. He walked to his trailer, accompanied by two production assistants. There was nothing about the drink that looked like a prop.

Gazarra was the real deal, the original Brick in the Broadway production of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” and best known for his work with John Cassavetes. He was a New Yorker.

Rest in Peace.

[Featured Image by Jeremy Pollard]


Categories:  1: Featured  Arts and Culture  Obituaries

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1 bags   ~  Feb 3, 2012 9:44 pm

glad you seem to have survived, mr. belth.

2 The Hawk   ~  Feb 3, 2012 10:01 pm

Watched The Killing of a Chinese Bookie for the first time not long ago, really enjoyed it. RIP

3 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Feb 4, 2012 6:58 am

[2] Great film. Gazzara just had "it", always lit up any film he was in.

4 Bruce Markusen   ~  Feb 4, 2012 7:35 pm

I remember him mostly for "Road House," the cult classic from the 1980s, and the little known but nicely done "They All Laughed," which co-starred the ill-fated Dorothy Stratten. I was impressed by Gazzara's ability to portray both villains and good guys with equal amounts of believability. Good actor.

5 Bruce Markusen   ~  Feb 4, 2012 7:39 pm

Just read the obituary and Gazzara said he was in a full-scale depression while making "They All Laughed." You certainly couldn't tell from watching his performance.

6 William Juliano   ~  Feb 4, 2012 8:50 pm

I love Gazzara in Capone; one of my favorite screen portrayals.

7 Evil Empire   ~  Feb 5, 2012 12:33 pm

Loved Gazarra in Summer of Sam, the lesser known Looking for Palladin and, of course, the ultra cheesy Road House. His acting always appeared effortless.

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