R.I.P Ben Gazzara

I’m struck with a tinge of sadness upon hearing that actor Ben Gazzara, terrific in the underrated and largely ignored film “Happiness,” has died. And surprised by this bio nugget:

In 1965, he moved on to TV stardom in “Run for Your Life,” a drama about a workaholic lawyer who, diagnosed with a terminal illness, quits his job and embarks on a globe-trotting attempt to squeeze a lifetime of adventures into the one or two years he has left. He was twice nominated for Emmys during the show’s three-year run.

What a great idea for a show and I’m amazed someone got such a discomforting concept on television in 1965.

6 thoughts on “R.I.P Ben Gazzara

  1. John Saleeby

    My favorite Ben Gazzara Movie is the late Seventies NBC TV Movie “The Killing Of Richie” Starring Gazzara as a Typical America Dad whose Teenage Son Richie, played by the Always Fun To Have Around Robbie Benson, has a spiraling drug problem (Marijuana, Downers, and Alcohol). Richie gets worse and worse but no matter how many people tell Gazzara he’s got to get Professional Help for his Son he just goes “Eh, it’s just a phase he’s going through! He’ll be okay! Leave me alone, the Big Game’s coming on!”. Finally one night Richie goes Psycho Cha Cha and Gazzara is forced to shoot him dead in Self Defense. Fucking Great! “The Killing Of Richie” is second to only “Killer In The Family” with Robert Mitchum, James Spader, and Eric Stolz when it comes to Quality NBC TV Movie Entertainment. Or maybe “Cocaine:One Man’s Secuction” with Dennis Weaver, James Spader, and Pamela Bellwood. I dunno, I love all that shit.

  2. John Saleeby

    I’m sorry, that Movie is called “The Death Of Richie”. Thank you once again, Wikipedia! Also, Lance Kerwin appears in that fine film as Robbie Benson’s younger Brother. Lance Kerwin also appears in it as Ben Gazzara’s youngest Son. I have also learned that Lance Kerwin appears in “Killer In The Family” as Jame’s Spader’s youngest Brother and Eric Stolz’s younger Brother (Stolz appears as Spader’s younger Brother and Kerwin’s older Brother). Lance Kerwin also appears in it as Robert Mitchum’s youngest Son. Robert Mitchum does not shoot any of his Sons in “Killer In The Family” but both Stolz and Kerwin are killed by Police attempting to capture Mitchum, a convicted killer, whom his misguided Sons have helped escape from Prison. Spader, the only one of Mitchum’s Sons who opposed breaking his Father out of Prison, is the only member of the Family to survive the climactic gun fight and spends the rest of his Life in Prison. Mitchum’s last words before jumping out of the van seconds after witnessing the bloody deaths of his Sons – “Every man for himself!”.
    Now, about “Cocaine:One Man’s Seduction” . . .

  3. Wil Post author

    You know, a terrific and underrated TV Movie was “Doing Time on Maple Drive” featuring Jim Carey in a dramatic role (as an alcoholic!)

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