LOS ANGELES (AP) – Character actors are not often called greater than life, but Seymour Cassel was just that. The live-wire pillar of independent film known for his frequent collaborations with John Cassavetes and Wes Anderson is dead at 84.
His daughter, Dilyn Cassel Murphy, said on Monday that her father died Sunday surrounded by family following complications from Alzheimer's disease .
With a thick hair, a distinctive voice-like, creaking and material fact – and a fright with concern, even as a young man, he always made an impression no matter how big the part top billing with Gena Rowlands shares half of a fleeting couple in "Minnie and Moskowitz" or as a cancer doctor for Gene Hackman in "The Royal Tenenbaums." He even left scholarships outside his own industry, such as the man who coined the slash name Slash for the final Guns N&S Roses guitarist Saul Hudson (he was a childhood friend of Cassel's son).
Born in Detroit, Cassel often traveled with his burlesque dancer mother as a child and never met her father.
"I started doing when I was 3, I would come out in a little checkered suit and pull down the clown's pants – I loved it!" He told the Los Angeles Times in 1992. "I was a little ham and was a very open child, probably because I was constantly around adults."
He was an angry and rebellious teenager who started drinking at 13. His mother sent him off to live with his godmother in Detroit, where he stayed until he won in the Navy of 17.
He Ended his way to New York in the 1950s to pursue acting, launching a 60-year career with performances in over 100 films. It was there that he met Cassavetes, whom he said "rescued" his life and made his film debut in his 1958 function "Shadows", which he also associate produced, almost accidentally.
It was the beginning of a lifelong friendship. In 1959 he followed Cassavetes and Rowlands to Los Angeles, where he lived in their guesthouse.
He often wanted to work for Cassavetes, with roles in "Faces" who earned him a best nomination of supporters in 1969, "Killing of a Chinese Bookie", "Opening Night" and "Love Streams."
Working with Cassavetes got him on the radar of many and he would have the chance to work with greats like Sam Peckinpah in "Convoy," Elia Kazan in "The Last Tycoon" and Nicolas Roeg in "Track 29" and "Cold Heaven."
His journey into Hollywood was not without problems, mainly the result of a fierce lifestyle similar to The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, which took a toll on his health, marriage and family life. He had even spent time in jail in 1982 and entered recovery in the mid 80's.
Cassel ran back and worked frequently in the 1990s with roles in films such as "Dick Tracy" "White Fang," "In The Soup", "Incomplete Proposal", "Vegas Honeymoon" and "It Could Be Happened To you. "
And then a new generation in 1998 would meet him because of the beginning of a fruitful collaboration with Anderson, like Bert Fischer in" Rushmore. " He would continue to work with him twice more and play the fake Esteban in "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" and the Dusty elevator operator in "The Royal Tenenbaums."
He guessed that Anderson threw him because he looked like his face.
Anderson said in a tribute in 2009 that Cassel was one of his favorite actors in the world and that he first met him as a fan.
"It's a dream to become an actor" Cassel told the LA Times in 2009. "But that's your dream. Don't give it up."
Cassel survived by three children, seven grandchildren and three grandchildren. The family has asked to consider donating to the Alzheimer's Foundation of America instead of flowers.
AP National Writer Hillel Italie has contributed to this report.