Early life. Cassavetes was born in New York City, the son of Greek American actress Katherine Cassavetes (née Demetre), who was to be featured in some of his films, and Greek immigrant Nicholas John Cassavetes (Greek: Νικόλαος Ιωάννης Κασσαβέτης), who was born in Larissa to Aromanian parents from the village of Vrysochori.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia John Cassavetes as Johnny Staccato, 1959 John Cassavetes began his career in film in 1953 and ended it in 1986, between which times he was involved in every aspect of the film, television, and stage arts, including acting, directing, scoring, shooting, editing, producing, and marketing.
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John Nicholas Cassavetes (December 9, 1929 – February 3, 1989) was an American movie actor, screenwriter, and director. He was known for his roles in Rosemary's Baby and in The Dirty Dozen. Cassavetes was born in New York City, New York on December 9. 1929. He studied at Blair Academy and at Colgate University.
- Early Life
- Early Films and Acting
- Later Career, Death and Family Legacy
- Film Methodology
- External Links
Cassavetes was born in New York City, the son of Katherine Cassavetes (who was to feature in some of his films) and Nicholas John Cassavetes, Greek immigrants to the U.S. His early years were spent with his family in Greece; when he returned, at the age of seven, he spoke no English. He grew up in Long Island, New York and attended high school at Blair Academy in New Jersey before moving to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. On graduation in 1950, he continued acting in the theater, took small parts in films, and began working on television in anthology series such as Alcoa Theatre.
During this time he met and married actress Gena Rowlands. By 1956, Cassavetes had begun teaching method acting in workshops in New York City. An improvisation exercise in one workshop inspired the idea for his writing and directorial debut, Shadows (1959; first version 1957). Cassavetes raised the funds for production from friends and family, as well as listeners to Jean Shepherd's late-night radio talk show Night People. Cassavetes was unable to gain American distribution of Shadows, but it won the Critics Award at the Venice Film Festival. European distributors later released the movie in the United States as an import. Although the box office of Shadows in the United States was slight, it did gain attention from the Hollywood studios. Cassavetes directed two movies for Hollywood in the early 1960s — Too Late Blues and A Child Is Waiting. He also played Johnny Staccato in a late 50s television series about a jazz pianist who also worked as a detective. It was broadcast on NBC bet...
His three films of the 1970s as director were produced independently. A Woman Under the Influence (1974) stars Rowlands as an increasingly troubled housewife named Mabel. Mabel serves a purpose in highlighting how Cassavetes treats an offbeat protagonist in a completely different manner than in Hollywood productions. In A Woman Under the Influence, Mabel is not 'sane' by societal standards, but her real problem is that she lives to please everybody else and not herself, hence the name of the film, and Nick, her husband, is not overly demonised even though he lashes out and hits Mabel when she is acting too hospitably towards his company in the spaghetti dinner scene. Nick loves his wife; evident by the way he is so consumed with guilt after sending Mabel to the institution that he lashes out at a co-worker for making light of the situation, or shown further through his excitement and fancy dress to welcome Mabel home. Rowlands captured the character of Mabel so well that she receive...
Cassavetes directed the film Gloria (1980) featuring Rowlands as a Mob moll who tries to protect an orphan boy whom the Mob wants to kill. She earned another best-actress nomination for it. Love Streams (1984) featured Cassavetes as an aging swain who suffers the overbearing affection of his recently divorced sister. His last film, Big Trouble (1986), was taken over during filming from Andrew Bergman, who wrote the original screenplay. An alcoholic, Cassavetes died from cirrhosis of the liverin 1989 at the age of 59. He was survived by Rowlands and three children (Nick, Alexandra and Zoe). His son, Nick Cassavetes, followed in his father's footsteps as an actor (Face/Off, Life) and director, and made the 1997 film She's So Lovely from a screenplay written by his father. He also directed 2002's John Q and 2004's The Notebook, which also starred Rowlands. Alexandra Cassavetes directed the documentary, Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession in 2004 and served as 2nd Unit Director on her...
The role of improvisation in Cassavetes' films is frequently misunderstood. His films were — with the exception of the original version of Shadows— heavily scripted. Confusion arises in part because Cassavetes allowed actors to bring their own interpretations of characters to their performances. Performances were scripted, but delivery was not.
Cassavetes offered a formula that differed greatly from that of the Hollywood studio system, both in method and final product.His films were not easy to watch; filled with awkward and gut wrenching moments and complex characters that were unpredictable, uncontrollable, and for the most part unreadable, they usually did not even offer the audience a concrete narrative story line to follow. For Cassavetes, it was more about the characters themselves, the moments of expressional truth sealed within an interaction, a look, or an awkward pause, than how the story necessarily played out. Aside from presenting difficult characters whose inner desires were not easily understood, he paid little attention to the “impressionistic cinematography, linear editing, and star-centred scene making ” that are fashionable in both Hollywood and art films. Instead, he chose to shoot mostly hand held with general lighting, or documentary style, to accommodate the spontaneity of his actors. Further, Cas...
In September 2004, The Criterion Collection produced a Region 1 DVD box set of his five independent films: Shadows, Faces, A Woman Under The Influence, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie and Opening Night. Also featured in the set is a documentary about the life and works of Cassavetes called A Constant Forge along with a booklet featuring critical assessments of the director's work, along with tributes by old friends. In 2005, a box set of the same five films was released in Region 2 by Optimum Releasing. The Optimum DVD of Shadows has a voice-over commentary by Seymour Cassel that has numerous mistakes about the first and second versions of the film, which are documented on Ray Carney's web site. Cassavetes is also the subject of several books about the actor/filmmakers life. Cassavetes on Cassavetes is a collection of interviews collected or conducted by Boston University film scholar Ray Carney, in which the late filmmaker recalls his experiences, influences and outlook in the f...
- John Nicholas Cassavetes, December 9, 1929, New York, New York
- Actor, Director, Screenwriter, Producer, Editor
- February 3, 1989 (aged 59), Los Angeles, California
- Nick Colasanto
John Cassavetes John Nicholas Cassavetes, född 9 december 1929 i New York i New York, död 3 februari 1989 i Los Angeles i Kalifornien, var en amerikansk skådespelare, manusförfattare och regissör. Han var gift med Gena Rowlands, som ofta medverkade i hans filmer, och far till regissören och skådespelaren Nick Cassavetes.
John Nicholas Cassavetes (Nova Iorque, 9 de dezembro de 1929 — Los Angeles, 3 de fevereiro de 1989) foi um ator e cineasta estadunidense.
John Nicholas Cassavetes (9. joulukuuta 1929 New York – 3. helmikuuta 1989 Los Angeles) oli yhdysvaltalainen elokuvaohjaaja ja näyttelijä. Hän oli myös amerikkalaisen independent-elokuvan edelläkävijä.
Shadows is a 1959 American independent drama film directed by John Cassavetes about race relations during the Beat Generation years in New York City.The film stars Ben Carruthers, Lelia Goldoni, and Hugh Hurd as three African-American siblings, though only one of them is dark-skinned.
Cassavetes was born in New York City, the son of actress Gena Rowlands and Greek-American actor and film director John Cassavetes. As a child, he appeared in his father's film Husbands (1970). After spending so much of his youth surrounded by the film industry, Cassavetes initially decided he did not want to go into the field.
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