Tributes have been pouring in for one of the unsung stalwarts of the acting game, Ben Gazzara, after the veteran died on Friday, February 3rd 2012, aged 81 years old. A prolific actor in the 70s in particular, Gazzara found himself finding late favor with a role in the cult 1998 comedy 'The Big Lebowski' though this was just one of 38 films he appeared in throughout his career. Gazzara had made his breakthrough back in the 50s, appearing on Broadway as the originating role of Brick Pollitt, alcoholic and failed football star of 'Cat On A Hot Tin Roof.'
The UK's Daily Mail reports that the star died in Manhattan after being placed in hospice care following a battle with cancer. Co-stars and friends have since been lining up with tributes in homage to the deceased star; Gena Rowlands was married to the late director John Cassavetes with whom Gazzara was friends with, working with the pair on the film 'Opening Night,' and she commented "It breaks my heart to have this era come to an end. Ben meant so much to all of us. To our families. To John. To Peter. To have them gone now is devastating to me."
Rita Moreno, who appeared alongside Gazzara in one of his later roles in the 2000 flick 'Blue Moon,' said "He was a wonderful man, and I so enjoyed working with him. I wish I could have had the pleasure more often." The actor is survived by his wife, his daughter Elizabeth and a brother.