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POSTED BY EIZ ON THURSDAY, 19 JANUARY, 2012, 7:14 AM
NEW YORK (AP) Ben Gazzara, whose powerful dramatic performances brought an intensity to a
variety of roles and made him a memorable presence in such iconic productions over the decades
as the original "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" on Broadway and the film ...
Posted byo Eiz n Thursday, 19 January, 2012, 7:14 AM
NEW YORK (AP) Ben Gazzara, whose
powerful dramatic performances brought
an intensity to a variety of roles and made
him a memorable presence in such iconic
productions over the decades as the
original "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" on
Broadway and the film "The Big
Lebowski," has died at age 81.
Longtime family friend Suzanne Mados
said Gazzara died Friday in Manhattan.
Mados, who owned the Wyndham Hotel,
where celebrities such as Peter Falk and
Martin Sheen stayed, said he died after being placed in hospice care for cancer. She and her
husband helped marry Gazzara and his wife, German-born Elke Krivat, at their hotel.
Gazzara was a proponent of method acting, in which the performer attempts to take on the
thoughts and emotions of the character he's playing, and it helped him achieve stardom early in
his career with two stirring Broadway performances.
In 1955, he originated the role of Brick Pollitt, the disturbed alcoholic son and failed football star in
"Cat on a Hot Tin Roof." He left the show after only seven months to take on an equally challenging
role, Johnny Pope, the drug addict in "A Hatful of Rain." It earned him his first of three Tony Award
In 1965, he moved on to TV stardom in "Run for Your Life," a drama about a workaholic lawyer who,
diagnosed with a terminal illness, quits his job and embarks on a globe-trotting attempt to
squeeze a lifetime of adventures into the one or two years he has left. He was twice nominated for
Emmys during the show's three-year run.
Gazzara made his movie debut in 1957 in "The Strange One," Calder Willingham's bitter drama
about brutality at a Southern military school. He had previously played the lead role of the
psychopathic cadet, Jocko de Paris, on Broadway in Willingham's stage version of the story, "End
He followed that film with "Anatomy of a Murder," in which he played a man on trial for murdering a