The actor passed away at his Palm Desert, California home on 2 April (15), according to his wife, actress/singer Marcy MCGuire.

Born in Sicily, Cassell, real name Oswaldo Castellano, began his movie career in 1942, when he signed a contract with studio bosses at MGM, and made his debut in Fingers at the Window, starring Basil Rathbone.

He went on to have small roles throughout the 1940s in such films as Anchors Aweigh, The Thin Man Goes Home, The Postman Always Rings Twice, Homecoming and National Velvet, alongside Mickey Rooney, who became one of Cassell's closest friends and advised him to adopt the stage name Wally Cassell.

Rooney went on to serve as his pal's best man when he wed MCGuire in 1947, and Cassell returned the favour two years later when Rooney married his third wife, actress Martha Vickers.

Cassell and Rooney went on to star in a number of other films together, including Thousands Cheer and Killer MCCoy.

Cassell also made his mark in many film noir projects, such as The Guilty, Breakdown, Quicksand and the crime thriller classic White Heat, in which he played a gang associate of James Cagney's character, and in war movies like Sands of Iwo Jima and The Flying Leathernecks.

In addition, Cassell made appearances on the small screen, with guest roles on hit programmes like Gunsmoke, The Untouchables, Rawhide and The Beverly Hillbillies.