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 liked the article Ben Gazzara: CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, THE STRANGE ONE, THEY ALL LAUGHED, please recommend it to your friends. See share buttons above and on the left.
Follow Alt Film Guide on Google+, Facebook and/or join 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' Movie Review: John Cassavetes, Ben Gazzara and Peter Falk

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


Click on 'Load Comments' to leave a comment and/or read previous comments about Ben Gazzara: CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, THE STRANGE ONE, THEY ALL LAUGHED.

Important: Different views and opinions are perfectly fine, but courtesy and respect are imperative. Abusive, bigoted, baseless (spreading misinformation), and/or trollish/inflammatory comments will be blocked and offenders may be banned.




FILM ARCHIVES

Meera: Film Actress' Bollywood Thriller Too Hot for Pakistan Censors
Meet the Oscars, New York 2008
Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto at STAR TREK Premiere in Tokyo
Megan Fox, Isabel Lucas: 'Transformers 2' Premiere
Gotham Awards 2009 Winners
AVATAR Expected to Gross $85 Million
AVATAR Grosses $7 Million on Tuesday
AVATAR, STAR TREK, JULIE & JULIA, THE HANGOVER: WGA 2010 Nominations
INCEPTION, THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE, SHUTTER ISLAND: Most Anticipated 2010 Movies
Box Office: SHUTTER ISLAND Tops, AVATAR #2, VALENTINE'S DAY #3, THE WOLFMAN #4
James Cameron, Kathy Bates Photo: 2010 Oscar Red Carpet
Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart ECLIPSE Photo; NEW MOON vs. AVATAR DVD
Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart Safe; Cameron Diaz, Julia Roberts, Jessica Biel Dangerous: Celebri...
George Clooney / THE AMERICAN Reviews
THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT, THE SOCIAL NETWORK: New York Film Critics' Mainstream Choices
THE SOCIAL NETWORK Tops Satellite Awards; Connie Stevens Gets Humanitarian Award
Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart BREAKING DAWN Love Scene Photo
Natalie Portman's BLACK SWAN Passes $100m Mark at Domestic Box Office
Amy Adams, Matthew McConaughey Pics
Susan Sarandon Quotes and Laura Bush Play