Stage and screen actor Ben Gazzara dies of cancer

Mon, Feb 6, 2012, 00:00

LOS ANGELES – Actor Ben Gazzara (81), known for his brooding tough-guy presence in dozens of films, television shows and stage productions, died of pancreatic cancer last Friday.

The New York-born performer died at Bellevue Hospital Center, with members of his family at his side, his attorney said.

Biagio Anthony Gazzara born to Italian immigrant parents began his career in live theatre.

A three-time Tony Award nominee for his stage work, Mr Gazzara made his film debut as a sociopathic military academy cadet in the 1957 drama The Strange One.

He was known for playing emotionally complex men and villains and worked with Hollywood directors, including John Cassavetes

His credits also included a role as porn-film producer Jackie Treehorn in the Coen Brothers’ 1998 cult comedy classic The Big Lebowskiand a supporting role in the 1999 remake of the art-heist drama The Thomas Crown Affair.

He is survived by his third wife, Elke, and daughter Elizabeth. – (Reuters)