About John Cassavetes
John Nicholas Cassavetes (born December 9, 1929 – February 3, 1989) was an American actor, film director, and screenwriter. First known as an actor on television and in film, Cassavetes also became a pioneer of American independent cinema, writing and directing movies financed in part with income from his acting work. AllMovie called him “an iconoclastic maverick,” while The New Yorker suggested that he “may be the most influential American director of the last half century.
As an actor, Cassavetes starred in notable Hollywood films throughout the 1950s and 1960s, including ‘Edge of the City’, ‘The Dirty Dozen’, and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’. He began his directing career with the 1959 independent feature ‘Shadows’ and followed with independent productions such as ‘Faces’, ‘Husbands’, ‘A Woman Under the Influence’, ‘Opening Night’, and ‘Love Streams’.
By 1956, John Cassavetes had begun teaching an alternative to method acting in his own workshop—co-founded with friend Burt Lane in New York City—in which character creation, rather than backstory or narrative requirements, would serve as the basis for performance. In contrast to the Actors Studio’s “moody, broody anguish,” the Cassavetes-Lane approach held that acting should be an expression of creative joy and exuberance, with emphasis put on the character’s creation of “masks” in the process of interacting with other characters. Learn More…