Oscar Actors: Cassel, Seymour–Iconic Indie Actor in Cassavetes Films Dies at 84

April 7, 2019–Iconic actor Seymour Cassel, who received a Best Supporting Actor nomination for Faces and appeared in Wes Anderson films including Rushmore, died Sunday in Los Angeles of Alzheimer’s disease. He was 84.

Cassel was a veteran of numerous independent films, appearing in multiple roles in films directed by John Cassevetes and Wes Anderson.

In addition to playing Bert Fischer in “Rushmore,” he appeared in “The Royal Tenenbaums” and “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.”

Cassel was born in Detroit on January 22, 1935.

His early career was driven by John Cassavetes. making his debut in uncredited role in Cassavetes’ first film, “Shadows,” in 1958.

He co-starred with Cassavetes in “Too Late Blues” and “The Webster Boy” and appeared on “The Lloyd Bridges Show” in the episode “A Pair of Boots” directed by Cassavetes.

Cassel’s early TV credits included “Twelve O’Clock High,” “Combat!,” “The F.B.I.” and “Batman” in the episode “A Piece of the Action.”

In 1968, Cassel was nominated for the Academy Award for supporting actor for his role as Chet in Cassavetes’s cinema verite drama “Faces.” He also won a National Society of Film Critics Award for the performance.

Faces (1968): Cassavetes Oscar-Nominated, Intimate Look at Marriage, Starring Seymour Cassel and Gena Rowlands

Other collaborations with Cassavetes included the co-lead with Gena Rowlands in “Minnie and Moskowitz,” “The Killing of a Chinese Bookie,” and “Love Streams.”

He met Anderson through indie director Alexandre Rockwell, who cast Cassel in “In the Soup,” for which he won a Sundance acting prize.

He made a particularly strong impression in Steve Buscemi’s directorial debut “Trees Lounge.”

Cassel appeared for four seasons in “Tracey Takes On….”

Among his other notable titles are “Coogan’s Bluff” (1968), “The Last Tycoon” (1976), “Valentino” (1977), “Convoy” (1978), “Johnny Be Good” (1988), “Mobsters” (1991), “In the Soup” (1992), “Honeymoon in Vegas” (1992), “Indecent Proposal” (1993), “Beer League” (2006), and “Fort McCoy” (2011).

Cassel was also active in the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), as a member of the national board, and as aspiring president (failing twice).

He is survived by his 3 children, Lisa Papciak, Matthew Cassel and Dilyn Cassel Murphy, 7 grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren.