C was born in New York City, the son of Greek American actress Katherine Cassavetes, who would feature in some of his films, and Greek immigrant Nicholas John Cassavetes who was born in Larissa to Aromanian parents from the village of Vrysochori.

He had an elder brother. Members of the Cassavetes family  settled in Volos and Zagora. His early years were spent with his family in Greece; when he returned at the age of 7, he spoke no English.

He was raised on Long Island, New York. He attended Port Washington High School (now Paul D. Schreiber Senior High School) from 1945 to 1947 and participated in Port Weekly (the school paper), Red Domino (interclass play), football, and the Port Light (yearbook).

Cassavetes attended Blair Academy in New Jersey and spent semester at Plattsburgh, New York’s Champlain College before being expelled due to his failing grades. He spent few weeks hitchhiking to Florida and then transferred to AADA, encouraged by friends who told him the school was “packed with girls.”

He graduated in 1950 and met his future wife Gena Rowlands at her audition to enter the Academy in 1953. They were married four months later in 1954. He continued acting in the theater, took small parts in films, and began working on television in anthology series such as Alcoa Theatre.

By 1956, Cassavetes began teaching an alternative to method acting in his own workshop—co-founded with friend Burt Lane in New York City—in which performance would be based on character creation.

Cassavetes scorned Lee Strasberg’s Method-based Actors Studio, believing that the Method was “more a form of psychotherapy than of acting” which resulted in sentimental cliches and self-indulgent emotion. In contrast to the Actors Studio’s “moody, broody anguish,” the Cassavetes-Lane approach held that acting should be an expression of creative joy and exuberance, with emphasis on the character’s creation of “masks” in the process of interacting with other characters.

Cassavetes was invited to audition at the Actors Studio, and in response he and Lane devised a prank: they claimed to be performing a scene from a recent stage production but in fact improvised a performance on the spot, fooling an impressed Strasberg. Cassavetes then fabricated story about his financial troubles, prompting Strasberg to offer him a full scholarship to the Studio; Cassavetes promptly rejected it, feeling that Strasberg couldn’t know anything about acting to have been so easily fooled by the two ruses.

Cassavetes played bit-parts in B pictures and in TV serials, until gaining notoriety in 1955 as vicious killer in The Night Holds Terror, and as a juvenile delinquent in the live TV drama Crime in the Streets.

Cassavetes would repeat this performance credited as an “introducing” lead in the 1956 film version, which also included another future director, Mark Rydell, as his gang mate.

His first starring role in a feature was Edge of the City (1957), which co-starred Sidney Poitier. He was briefly under contract to MGM and co-starred with Robert Taylor in the western Saddle the Wind, written by Rod Serling. In the late 1950s, Cassavetes guest-starred in Beverly Garland’s groundbreaking crime drama, Decoy, about a New York City woman police undercover detective.

He played Johnny Staccato, the title character in TV series about jazz pianist who also worked as private detective. He directed five episodes of the series, which also features guest appearance by his wife Gena Rowlands. It was broadcast on NBC between September 1959 and March 1960, and then acquired by ABC; although critically acclaimed, the series was cancelled in September 1960.

Cattaneo (born July 1, 1964) attended London College of Printing for an art foundation course, and Leeds Polytechnic for a BA in Graphic Design (Film), he graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1989.

He was nominated for the Best Live Action Short Oscar for “Dear Rosie” (1990). He went on to make his feature film debut with The Full Monty (1997), which was a smash success both in the UK and internationally.