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John Cazale

John Cazale
Personal information
Birth nameJohn Holland Cazale
Birth dateAugust 12, 1935
Place of birthWinchester, Massachusetts, U.S.
Date of deathMarch 12, 1978(age 42)
Death placeNew York City, New York, U.S.
Resting placeHoly Cross Cemetery, Malden, Massachusetts.

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John Holland Cazale (-enkəˈzeɪl, -itkaˈzaːle) (August 12, 1935 - March 12, 1978), was an American film and theater actor. During his six-year film career he appeared in five films, each of which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture: The Godfather, The Conversation, The Godfather Part II, Dog Day Afternoon and The Deer Hunter.

From his start as an acclaimed theater actor he became one of Hollywood's premiere character actors, starting with Coppola's The Godfather in which he played Fredo Corleone, the weak link in the Corleone crime family. "Cazale broke hearts on screen with portrayals of volatile, vulnerable, vacillating men, including Pacino's tragic bank-robbing partner in Dog Day Afternoon," writes David Germain of the Associated Press. He is described as an actor "whose intense face is known to just about any serious cinema fan but whose name often escapes them." In his final film, The Deer Hunter, he chose to continue acting despite being diagnosed with terminal bone cancer, and died in New York City on March 12, 1978, shortly after completing his role. He was 42.

Cazale was characterized as "an amazing intellect, an extraordinary person and a fine, dedicated artist" by Joseph Papp, producer of the New York Shakespeare Festival. A film documentary and tribute about Cazale, titled I Knew It Was You, was an entry at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and featured interviews with Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro, Gene Hackman, Richard Dreyfuss, Francis Ford Coppola, and Sidney Lumet.

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