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John Cazale

Biography

Appreciated for his roles in such celebrated motion pictures because the Godfather, The Conversation, Pet dog Day Afternoon as well as the Deer Hunter, this acclaimed actor was known for his multi-layered portrayals of violent and unpredictable, yet vulnerable, people. He fulfilled his future creative collaborator, Al Pacino, while doing work for the brand new York City workplace of Standard Essential oil. A stage performer and a display screen actor, he made an appearance in NY productions of Measure for Measure, Range, as well as the Indian Desires the Bronx. Delivered in Revere, Massachusetts, he was raised in a family group of Italian traditions. From 1976 until his loss of life from lung tumor in 1978, he was romantically associated with the acclaimed film celebrity Meryl Streep.

Quick Facts


Full Name John Cazale
Date Of Birth August 12, 1935
Died March 13, 1978, New York City, New York, United States
Place Of Birth Revere, MA
Height 1.79 m
Profession Movie Actor
Education Oberlin College, Boston University
Nationality American
Parents Cecilia Cazale, John Cazale
Siblings Steve Cazale
Partner Meryl Streep
Awards Obie Award for Performance
Nominations Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
Movies The Deer Hunter, Dog Day Afternoon, The Godfather Part II, The Conversation, The Godfather, The American Way
Star Sign Leo

  • Facts
  • Filmography
  • Awards
  • Salaries
  • Quotes
  • Trademarks
  • Pictures

#Fact
1 Although he played Morgana King and Marlon Brando's son in The Godfather (1972), he was only five and eleven years their junior respectively.
2 Although he played James Caan's younger brother in The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather: Part II (1974), he was five years his senior in real life.
3 Of the four actors who played Vito Corleone's children in the Godfather films, he was the only one not nominated for an Oscar for doing so. Al Pacino and James Caan were nominated for Best Supporting Actor for the first film. Al Pacino was nominated again, this time for Best Actor, for the second film, in which Talia Shire was nominated for Best Supporting Actress.
4 He and Meryl Streep met during a "Shakespeare in the park" stint, acting in a production of "Measure for Measure".
5 Was an avid fan of baseball.
6 Brother of Steve Cazale.
7 Was the middle kid of three children.
8 His father was a wholesale coal salesman and his mother was a homemaker.
9 Worked as a messenger, photographer, and taxi driver in his early days as a struggling actor.
10 Five of John Cazale's six films - The Godfather, The Conversation, The Godfather, Part II, Dog Day Afternoon, and The Deer Hunter are on the Library of Congress' National Film Registry, and are deemed "culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant" films. Since 1989, the Library has added 25 films to the registry each year. The Godfather films made the list the first year.
11 Of the five films he appeared in, three also featured Robert Duvall, three starred Al Pacino, three were directed by Francis Ford Coppola, two starred Bobby DeNiro, and three won the Oscar for Best Picture.
12 All of his films involved either Francis Ford Coppola, Al Pacino, or Robert De Niro. Or, in the case of the Godfather Part II, all three.
13 Three of the five feature films he appeared in won the Oscar for Best Picture. The other two were nominated.
14 Ad-libbed his famous "Wyoming?" line in Dog Day Afternoon (1975). Director Sidney Lumet laughed so hard that he feared he had ruined the take. It wasn't ruined, however, and was used in the final cut.
15 Friend Al Pacino requested him to audition for the role of Sal in Dog Day Afternoon (1975). Director Sidney Lumet was, however, unsure, with Cazale not being anything like the real-life counterpart (the real Sal was eighteen, while Cazale was in his late thirties). Cazale immediately won over the part with the audition.
16 Unlike most of the casting of the film, Cazale easily won his part as Fredo Corleone in The Godfather (1972) after being seen in the play 'Line' by producer of the film, Albert S. Ruddy, who was invited to see the play by Cazale's co-star Richard Dreyfuss. He was an obvious choice to both Ruddy and Coppola for Fredo.
17 Greatly impressed with his performance in The Godfather (1972), director Francis Ford Coppola wrote a much bigger and central role for Cazale in the sequel, The Godfather: Part II (1974).
18 Three of the five feature-length movies he made also starred Al Pacino: The Godfather (1972), The Godfather: Part II (1974) and Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
19 Close friend and frequent co-star, Al Pacino, referred to Cazale as his "acting partner", the guy he could've acted with his entire life.
20 Cited as a "Distinguished Performance" by the Off-Broadway Obie Awards for the 1967-1968 season for his performance in Israel Horovitz's play "The Indian Wants the Bronx".
21 Has a theater named after him, the McGinn/Cazale Theatre, located at 2162 Broadway at 76th Street, NY, NY above the former Promenade Theatre (now closed) on the fourth floor. The theater sits from 99 to 108 people. The "McGinn" in the theater's title is for actor Walter McGinn.
22 In spite of the desperate, violent characters he played in a handful of films, he was by all accounts an enormously kind and gentle person off screen, having been a close personal friend of most of the actors he had worked with. Among his greatest achievements was that he helped the discovery of childhood friend Al Pacino, fellow,actor Robert De Niro, and his girlfriend at the time of his early death, Meryl Streep.
23 Was friends with Al Pacino when they both were working as messengers in new york in their 20's.
24 Years after his death he appeared in a sixth feature film, The Godfather: Part III (1990) in archive footage. That film, like all of the films Cazale appeared in, was nominated for Best Picture.
25 His father, John Cazale, was of Italian descent. His mother, Cecilia (Holland), was of Irish ancestry.
26 Played characters named Stan in two movies (q.v.) The Conversation (1975) and The Deer Hunter (1978).
27 Studied drama at Oberlin College and Boston University.
28 Cazale appeared in only five feature films in his career, and all of them were nominated for Best Picture.
29 Was dying of cancer while filming The Deer Hunter (1978)
30 Was in a relationship with Meryl Streep at the time of his death.


Actor

Actor

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Deer Hunter 1978 Stan
The Godfather: A Novel for Television 1977 TV Mini-Series Fredo Corleone
Dog Day Afternoon 1975 Sal
The Godfather: Part II 1974 Fredo Corleone
The Conversation 1974 Stan
The Godfather 1972 Fredo
N.Y.P.D. 1968 TV Series Tom Andrews
The American Way 1962 Short Beatnik

Cinematographer

Cinematographer

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Box 1969 Short

Editor

Editor

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The American Way 1962 Short uncredited

Soundtrack

Soundtrack

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Deer Hunter 1978 performer: "Down From Heaven" - uncredited

Miscellaneous

Miscellaneous

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The American Way 1962 Short production assistant

Self

Self

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Lumet: Film Maker 1975 Documentary short Himself
The Godfather: Behind the Scenes 1971 Documentary short Himself (uncredited)

Archive Footage

Archive Footage

TitleYearStatusCharacter
I Knew It Was You: Rediscovering John Cazale 2009 Documentary short Fredo Corleone Stan Sal ...
Premio Donostia a Meryl Streep 2008 TV Special Stan
The Godfather 2006 Video Game Fredo Corleone (uncredited)
'Dog Day Afternoon': The Story 2006 Video short Himself
Based on a True Story 2004 Documentary
The Godfather Trilogy: 1901-1980 1992 Video Fredo Corleone
The Godfather: Part III 1990 Fredo Corleone (uncredited)
The Freshman 1990 Fredo Corleone (uncredited)
The Godfather Family: A Look Inside 1990 TV Movie documentary Fredo Corleone

Nominated awards

Nominated awards

YearAwardCeremonyNominationMovieAward shared with
1976 Golden Globe Golden Globes, USA Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture Dog Day Afternoon (1975)


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#Trademark
1 Most often appeared with Al Pacino and Robert De Niro
2 Expressive eyes
3 Subtle but emotional performances
4 Often played depressed characters
5 Vibrant voice
6 Playing deadbeat, loser characters

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