In honor of today being the 84th birthday anniversary of the late great Ben Gazzara, today’s pic is another from Convicts 4 (1962), directed by Millard Kaufman. John Resko ponders his predicament after unexpectedly meeting up with his childhood friend Nick in the prison yard at Dannemora.
Tim and Gazzara would meet again in John Cassavetes‘ The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976). Unfortunately Tim only garners a passing mention in Gazzara’s autobiography, In the Moment: My Life as an Actor (2004). I was hoping for some great stories! Gazzara’s presence on the silver screen is highly treasured and greatly missed.
After stuffing ourselves yesterday, we deserve a rest. And where better to put up our feet than in the clink? We close the holiday week with another look at Convicts 4 (1962), Millard Kaufman‘s prison biography of artist John Resko (Ben Gazzara). Unbeknownst to Resko and his old pal Nick, they’re about to have an unfortunate encounter with Iggy (Ray Walston, with his back to the camera), not one of Resko’s favorite people.
Award-winning Walston was one of the most beloved character actors around, working steadily from the 1950s up until his death in 2001. I’m sure we all know him best from his role in the comedy series My Favorite Martian (1963-66). He, however, wished that we didn’t. “I never should have done My Favorite Martian,” he told USA TODAY in 1995. “I didn’t work in TV or film for three years after. Everyone thought of me as a Martian. Do you know what it’s like to go to Madrid, Spain, on vacation and have a guy yell out, ‘Hey, Martin!’ and put antennas behind his head? When that happens, you know your career is dead.”
Notable trivia: Kaufman was the co-creator of Mr. Magoo! LaStarza was a professional heavyweight boxer for many years. He gave Rocky Marciano quite a run for his money in 1953 (I always thought Tim should have played a boxer at some point). This was Gilson’s last feature film; he was shot in self-defense by his estranged wife, model and actress Saundra Edwards, during a domestic dispute.