We're looking for contributors

Ben Gazzara: CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, THE STRANGE ONE, THEY ALL LAUGHED

Audrey Hepburn, Ben Gazzara, They All Laughed
Audrey Hepburn, Ben Gazzara, They All Laughed

Ben Gazzara Dead Pt.1: ANATOMY OF A MURDER, HUSBANDS, AN EARLY FROST

Long before An Early Frost, Ben Gazzara had already appeared in two (however veiled) gay-themed productions. On Broadway, he was the virile ex-football player pining for his "best friend" while ignoring wife Barbara Bel Geddes in the 1955 original staging of Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. (Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor played those two roles in the bowdlerized 1958 movie version directed by Richard Brooks.) And in 1957, Gazzara made his film debut as a sexually troubled military man who gets off by viciously abusing (or watching others viciously abuse) his fellow cadets in Jack Garfein's The Strange One.

Among Gazzara's other 75 or so feature films – many of which were made in Italy – are Steve Carver's Capone (1975), in the title role; Stuart Rosenberg's Voyage of the Damned (1976), a poorly received all-star drama about Jews (Faye Dunaway, Lee Grant, Wendy Hiller, Oskar Werner, Maria Schell, Julie Harris, etc.) aboard an ocean liner as they attempt to seek refuge from Nazi persecution; Terence Young's critical and box office disaster Inchon (1981), with Laurence Olivier and Jacqueline Bisset (Gazzara was nominated for a Razzie for this one); and Joel Coen and Ethan Coen's The Big Lebowski (1998), featuring Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, and Julianne Moore.

As for Gazzara's two features films for Peter Bogdanovich, those were hardly fortuitous. Both Saint Jack (1979) and They All Laughed (1981), the latter co-starring Audrey Hepburn, were critical and box office flops. (As per the Times obit, Gazzara and Hepburn – both married at the time – had a brief fling after they were featured together in another Terence Young flop, the 1979 thriller Bloodline.)

Gazzara was married three times. One of his wives was actress Janice Rule (1961-1982), who had supporting roles and second-leads in about two dozen movies in the '50s and '60s (e.g., Welcome to Hard Times, Alvarez Kelly, The Swimmer). She died in 2003.

Apparently, Gazzara's film career never developed as many would have expected because of the actor's own poor choices. (Whether those choices were a result of his chronic depression is unclear). “When I became hot, so to speak, in the theater, I got a lot of offers,” he said in a 1998 interview on the talk show Charlie Rose. “I won't tell you the pictures I turned down because you would say, 'You are a fool.' And I was a fool.”

Curiously, as Roger Ebert pointed out on Twitter, Ben Gazzara died exactly 23 years after John Cassavetes, who died of cirrhosis of the liver on Feb. 3, 1989.

If you found Ben Gazzara: CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, THE STRANGE ONE, THEY ALL LAUGHED an informative post, please recommend it to your friends. See share buttons above and on the left.
And consider following Alt Film Guide on Facebook and/or joining the FB group All About Movies.
Ben Gazzara: CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, THE STRANGE ONE, THEY ALL LAUGHED © 2004-2015 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s). Text NOT to be reproduced without prior written consent.

Continue Reading: HUSBANDS Review: John Cassavetes, Ben Gazzara, Peter Falk

Previous Post: Ben Gazzara Dead at 81: ANATOMY OF A MURDER, HUSBANDS, AN EARLY FROST


Leave your comment about Ben Gazzara: CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, THE STRANGE ONE, THEY ALL LAUGHED in the space below. Important: Different views and opinions are perfectly fine, but courtesy and respect are imperative. Abusive, bigoted, baseless, and/or inflammatory comments will be blocked and offenders may be banned.

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>




FILM ARCHIVES

Daniel Day-Lewis, Tilda Swinton, Marion Cotillard, Javier Bardem Photo: Oscar 2008
International Box Office Tops US$10 Billion
Robert Pattinson: The New Spider-Man?
Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Scorsese, Cher, Halle Berry: Golden Globes Photos
Brittany Murphy's Cause of Death
VALENTINE'S DAY, THE WOLFMAN, PERCY JACKSON Dethrone AVATAR, DEAR JOHN
MGM Actress Kathryn Grayson Dies
AVATAR Wins Six Visual Effects Awards
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on TCM: Humphrey Bogart, John Wayne Movies
Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart: Daring Non-TWILIGHT Choices
Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart Kiss: Bella and Edward in the Meadow Scene - ECLIPSE
THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE to Gross More than NEW MOON?
THE SOCIAL NETWORK, James Franco, Natalie Portman, BIUTIFUL: Dallas-Ft. Worth Film Critics Awards
Robert Pattinson, Reese Witherspoon: WATER FOR ELEPHANTS Book Cover
TWILIGHT BREAKING DAWN Trailer Reviewed
Montgomery Clift Movie Schedule: I CONFESS, FROM HERE TO ETERNITY
Eddie Redmayne, Leonardo DiCaprio, Meryl Streep, Kristen Wiig: BAFTA Longlist Contenders
Madonna Super Bowl Show 2012: Best W.E. Promo
Jane Fonda Nancy Reagan and Alan Rickman Ronald Reagan: Dead Ringers?
Jennifer Lawrence Wins Golden Globe, Remembers David O. Russell Discovery