Both an accomplished character actor and leading man, Ben Gazzara has made a name for himself on the stage, screen, and television. The son of an Italian immigrant, Gazzara was born in New York City on August 28, 1930. He channeled his excess energy into acting after dropping out of the engineering department at the City College of New York. After studying at the Actors Studio and with private coach Erwin Piscator, Gazzara exploded onto the Broadway scene in 1953, playing warped military academy upper-classman Jocko De Paris in End as a Man. He went on to create the role of Brick in the original 1955 production of Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. He later starred in Michael V. Gazzo’s A Hatful of Rain, only to see his role go to Don Murray in the 1957 movie version, just as Paul Newman would portray Brick in the 1958 film version of Cat.
Fortunately, Gazzara was permitted top film billing in 1957, reprising his stage role in End as a Man in… read more