Cassavetes, John

Cassavetes, John

1929–89, American film actor and director, a pioneer of independent filmmaking, b. New York City. The son of Greek immigrants, he attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and began his acting career in 1950s television. He appeared in numerous Hollywood movies; his best-known roles were in The Dirty Dozen (1967) and Rosemary's Baby (1968). His directorial debut, Shadows (1960), an innovative and largely improvised feature, was made on a shoestring budget on 16-mm film. Cassavetes gathered around him a group of talented actors, such as Gina Rowlands (his wife), Peter Falk, and Ben Gazzara, who collaborated in the filmmaking process. His films are largely domestic dramas that have an edgy realism and cinéma véritécinéma vérité,
a style of filmmaking that attempts to convey candid realism. Often employing lightweight, hand-held cameras and sound equipment, it shows people in everyday situations and uses authentic dialogue, naturalness of action, and a minimum of
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 style and often deal with questions of identity, love, and marriage. They include Faces (1968), Husbands (1970), The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976), A Woman under the Influence (1974), and Gloria (1980). He wrote most of his films and acted in many of them. Never very successful commercially, he maintained a modest but enthusiastic following and strongly influenced such filmmakers as Oliver StoneStone, Oliver,
1946–, American filmmaker, screenwriter, and producer, b. New York City, studied filmmaking with Martin Scorsese at New York Univ. (B.F.A., 1971). Stone enlisted (1967) in the army and saw combat in Vietnam, winning a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.
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 and Martin ScorseseScorsese, Martin
, 1942–, American film director; b. Queens, N.Y. A major figure in contemporary cinema, he grew up in Manhattan's Little Italy, attended film school at New York Univ.
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.

Bibliography

See R. Carney, ed., Cassavetes on Cassavetes (2001); biography by M. Fine (2006); studies by R. Carney (rev. ed. 2000) and T. Charity (2001); M. Ventura, dir. I'm Almost Not Crazy: John Cassavetes (documentary film, 1984) and D. Cazenave, dir., Anything for John (documentary film, 1995).

Cassavetes, John

(1929–89) actor, director, screenwriter; born in New York (husband of Gena Rowlands). After graduating from Colgate University, he studied acting and then went into stock. He made his film debut in Taxi (1953) and became a fine, intense actor in movies and on TV. He used his earnings from a television detective series to finance his first directorial effort, Shadows (1961), which broke new ground with its improvised scenes and free-moving cinematography. He continued to make semi-improvised movies until he wrote and directed A Woman Under the Influence (1974).
References in periodicals archive ?
Dick, Marvel Comics, John Cassavetes, John Ford, Paula Fox, James Brown, Bob Dylan, Franz Kafka, Brooklyn's streets, subways and sandwich shops, and, touchingly, his parents--his father, a painter, his mother, a true bohemian wild child, who died young.