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John Cassavetes was a legendary actor turned director from the 1950s to the 1980s. He had several memorable movie acting roles, including in The Dirty Dozen (nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for this film), Rosemary's Baby, and his own movies. In the 1950s, Cassavetes was a TV and movie actor, and in 1956, he appeared on Jean Shepherd's radio show, and raised the seed money for Shadows, his first feature film, from Shepherd's Night People! He completed Shadows in 1957, but was unhappy with it, and he shelved it, and in 1959, he re-shot much of it, and it was released in New York (and was released in other countries two years later in 1961). The success of Shadows got Cassavetes a Hollywood contract to direct Too Late Blues in 1961 and A Child is Waiting in 1963 (a really fine movie, and his wife, Gena Rowlands, had a small but important part in it, and she would later appear in a number of his movies). He became an auteur, directing other films that were very personal to himself, which included: A Woman Under The Influence (nominated for the Best Director Academy Award for this film), The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, Faces, Husbands, and Gloria, although he continued to make film appearances in other directors' movies. Cassavetes passed away in 1989 at the age of 59 from cirrhosis.
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