Saturday, August 12, 2006

On this Date

John Cazale’s life ended early. He was only 43 when he succumbed to cancer in 1978, and you might reasonably expect an actor with only five films to his credit to end up in the dustbin of history.

Cazale is much more than a footnote, however. The five films in question are: The Godfather, The Conversation, Godfather II, Dog Day Afternoon, and The Deer Hunter. An astounding batting average, wouldn’t you say?

He is best known, of course, as weak Fredo Corleone, who fumbled with his gun, betrayed the family, and ended up dead at the hands of his brother Michael. My own favorite Cazale role, however is as Al Pacino’s accomplice Sal in Dog Day Afternoon. Sal is a pretty dim bulb, but he has a touching naiveté, and his death in that film is absolutely heartbreaking.

John Cazale would have turned 71 today.

1 comment:

Richard Gibson said...

He had a very expressive and interesting face.