Ben Gazzara, R.I.P. - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Ben Gazzara, R.I.P.

Actor Ben Gazzara passed away on Friday of pancreatic cancer. He was 81.

The New York born character actor had a career which spanned six decades on Broadway, film and TV. Gazzara was a member of the original Broadway cast of Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and worked with directors ranging from Otto Preminger in Anatomy of a Murder to the Coen Brothers in The Big Lebowski. He also collaborated with John Cassavetes in the 1970s on a trio of films – Husbands, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie and Opening Night. Others still might remember Gazzara as the villain in the Patrick Swayze movie Road House.

However, when I think of Ben Gazzara the first person that comes to mind is Yogi Berra. Gazzara played the Yankees legend in an Off-Broadway one man play called Nobody Don’t Like Yogi. In March 2005, Gazzara had a one week engagement at the Wilbur Theatre here in Boston and I had the chance to see a Sunday matinee performance. The Boston Globe said of Gazzara’s performance, “This Yogi is a Yankee than even a Red Sox fan can love.”

I leave you with a clip of Gazzara sparring with Berra’s longtime battery mate Whitey Ford and boxing legend Joe Louis on I’ve Got a Secret with Garry Moore which originally aired in September 1959.

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