Cassel scored a Supporting Actor Oscar nom for Cassavetes’ 1968 film Faces, a role that also earned him a trophy from the National Society of Film Critics. He appeared in about a half-dozen of Cassavetes’ films and also acted opposite him in a few others. Anderson cast Cassel in his films The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004), The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) and Rushmore (1998).
Cassel also was active in pre-merger SAG politics, running for national president in 2007 and 2009.
Born on January 22, 1935, in Detroit, Cassel’s film debut was an uncredited role in Cassavetes’ Shadows (1958). We would co-star alongside the filmmaker-actor in the early-’60s movies The Webster Boy, Too Late Blues — which Cassavetes also helmed — and The Killers, which was Ronald Reagan’s last movie.