Seymour Cassel


22 Jan 1935


Detroit, Michigan, USA


Seymour Joseph Cassel


Seymour Cassel, the veteran character actor who was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as the hippie swinger Chet in John Cassavetes' Faces (1968), studied acting at the American Theatre Wing and at the Actors Studio. He made his movie debut in Cassavetes' first film, Shadows (1959), on which he also served as associate producer.

Cassel's early career was tied to Cassavetes, who himself had a flourishing career as an actor on television and in major Hollywood productions in addition to becoming, arguably, the first great independent movie director after the collapse of the studio system in the late 1950s/early 1960s. As for Cassel, after his uncredited role in "Shadows," he co-starred with Cassavetes in The Webster Boy (1962) and Too Late Blues (1961) before winding up in support of his friend in Don Siegel's The Killers (1964), a movie shot for TV that had to be released theatrically due to its heightened violence (it was also Ronald Reagan's last movie). Cassel primarily made his living on TV in the 1960s, frequently typecast as beatniks and hippies. He had a supporting role in the Cassavetes-directed episode "A Pair of Boots" (1962) for The Lloyd Bridges Show (1962) as well as appearing on such popular programs as 12 O'Clock High (1964), Combat! (1962) and The F.B.I. (1965) before scoring with his aging hippie in "Faces" at the end of that tumultuous decade.

Along with "Shadows," "Faces" remains his favorite Cassavettes film. In addition to acting, Cassel was also a crew member on the film, as the technical staff numbered all of seven. He helped shoot the film as a second cameraman, as well as adjusting the lighting. As the film was financed by Cassavettes himself, there were no union regulations to deal with, nor a studio schedule to keep.

Several of Cassavettes' films were shot in continuity, so the actors could develop a character in sequence--similar to stage acting--rather than the traditional method of film making, which is shot out of sequence. Cassel has stated that this technique enhanced the success of his works by eliminating the "fourth wall" between the audience and the actors. He believes that acting tells the film's story, not the images and that what is important is how the audience relates to the characters on screen.

As their careers matured, Cassel also co-starred with Cassavetes in two TV movies, Nightside (1973) and Nightside (1973) and appeared in supporting roles in three more Cassavetes-directed films: The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976), Opening Night (1977) and Love Streams (1984).

In addition to appearing in studio films, Cassel has remained prominent in the American independent film community since the death of his friend and collaborator. He contributed a cameo appearance in the directorial debut of Steve Buscemi (with whom he appeared as a co-star in the black comedy In the Soup (1992)), Trees Lounge (1996), and has appeared in three films by Wes Anderson: Rushmore (1998), The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004).

Cassel is prized by independent directors for two things: his positive nature, and his (perhaps) facetious declaration that he'd be in any independent film for the price of a plane ticket if he liked the script.

Actor ( 214 credits )

Every Night's a Saturday Night (2016) Himself
Silver Case: Director's Cut (2015) Dealer
The Algerian (2014) Professor Wright
Lucky Dog (2014) The Real Spencer
Pride of Lions (2014) Dominic Ackers
At the Maple Grove (2014) Boyle
The Secret Lives of Dorks (2013) Principal
Lost Angeles (2012) Film Critic
Broken Kingdom (2012) Clayton
Booster (2012) Harold
Silver Case (2012) Dealer
Talent Watch (2012)  Guest (1 episode, 2013)
Kingdom Come (2011) Himself
Pass the Salt, Please (2011) Man
Freerunner (2011) Gramps
Across from Finn McCool's (2011) Himself
L!fe Happens (2011) Pop Pop
Without Borders (2011) Detective McKenneth
Fort McCoy (2011) Father Mivkovek
Pete Smalls Is Dead (2010) Saco
Now Here (2010) Commissioner
The Aristofrogs (2010)
Kissing Strangers (2010) Mr. Koster
Chasing 3000 (2010) Poppy
Funny or Die Presents... (2010)  King of Police (segment "United States Police Departme
FCU: Fact Checkers Unit (2010)  Old Man (1 episode, 2012)
Little New York (2009) Jasper Sabiano
Seymour Cassel Hollywood Reporter Acting Achievment Tribute (2009) Himself
Not Dead Yet (2009) Francis
Reach for Me (2008) Alvin
Big Heart City (2008) Larry
Barbiere, IL (2008) Mort
Beau Jest (2008) Abe Goldman
Crash (2008)  Julian Gold (1 episode, 2009)
Postal (2007) Paul
The Happiest Day of His Life (2007) Mrd. Jacobs
Cosmic Radio (2007) Malcolm Stone
Flight of the Conchords (2007)  Johnny Boy (1 episode, 2009)
Filmnut (2007)  Himself (1 episode, 2009)
Beer League (2006) Dirt
Property (2006) The Superintendent
Ray of Sunshine (2006)
Edge of Outside (2006) Himself
Hollywood Dreams (2006) Rupert
Sea of Dreams (2006) Tomaso
Bye Bye Benjamin (2006) Mr. Ruby
Heist (2006)  Pops (6 episodes, 2006)
Circadian Rhythm (2005) Hoover
Welcome to California (2005) Jim's Father
Main Street (2005) Big Business
Bittersweet Place (2005) Jack "Pappy" Schaffer
The Wendell Baker Story (2005) Boyd Fullbright
Lonesome Jim (2005) Don
The Tenants (2005) Levenspiel
Before It Had a Name (2005) Jeff
Howard Stern on Demand (2005)  Himself (uncredited) (1 episode, 2006)
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004) Esteban du Plantier
Thanksgiving (2004) Del
Sweet Underground (2004) Wally
Stuck on You (2003) Morty O'Reilly
A Good Night to Die (2003) Guy
Wishing Time (2003) The Angel
Lucky (2003)  The Trake (3 episodes, 2003)
Gary the Rat (2003) (1 episode, 2003)
The Burial Society (2002) Sam Goldberg
Sonny (2002) Albert
Manna from Heaven (2002) Stanley
Stealing Harvard (2002) Uncle Jack
Passionada (2002) Daniel Vargas
The Biz (2002) Eugene Hinkle
Time & Again (2002) Steve
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) Dusty
The Cure for Boredom (2001) Eddie
Women of the Night (2001) Sally
Bartleby (2001) Frank Waxman
The Chameleon (2001) Richard Cavanaugh
The Sleepy Time Gal (2001) Bob
Justice League (2001)  Chuck Sirianni (1 episode, 2005)
A Constant Forge (2000) Himself
Just One Night (2000) Arthur Imperial
The Crew (2000) Tony 'Mouth' Donato
Animal Factory (2000) Lt. Seeman
Boston Public (2000)  Bernie Willis (1 episode, 2001)
A Nero Wolfe Mystery (2000)  Dazy Perrit / ... (2 episodes, 2002)
Next Stop, Eternity (2000) Lawrence
Black and White (1999) Sal
Me and Will (1999) Roy
Smoking Cuban Style (1999) Dragan
Ballad of the Nightingale (1999)
Getting to Know You (1999) (uncredited)
Temps (1999) Arthur, the studio president
The Directors (1999)  Himself (1 episode)
The Treat (1998) Chip O'Herlihee
Stingers (1998)
Rushmore (1998) Bert Fischer
Snapped (1998) Bob
Hoods (1998) Pop Martinelli (uncredited)
Relax... It's Just Sex (1998) Emile Pillsbury
Johnny 316 (1998)
Motel Blue (1997) Capistrano Minister
Obsession (1997) Jacob Frischmuth
Cannes Man (1997) Sy Lerner
This World, Then the Fireworks (1997) Detective Harris
Seed (1997) First Client
Les frères Gravet (1996) Himself
The Last Home Run (1996) Older Jonathan
Juicehead (1996) Dr. Watt
Chameleon (1996) Francis
Dead Girl (1996) Ira Golub
I sfagi tou kokora (1996) Ahilleas
Dream for an Insomniac (1996) Uncle Leo
John Cassavetes: To Risk Everything to Express It All (1996) Himself
Trees Lounge (1996) Uncle Al
Cosas que nunca te dije (1996) Frank
Arli$$ (1996)  Artie (1 episode, 2002)
Tracey Takes On... (1996)  Candy Casino (8 episodes, 1996-1999)
Good Company (1996)  Jack O'Shea (6 episodes, 1996)
Turnpike (1996) Older man
Dead Presidents (1995) Saul (uncredited)
Imaginary Crimes (1994) Eddie
There Goes My Baby (1994) Pop
It Could Happen to You (1994) Jack Gross
Chasers (1994) Master Chief Bogg
Tollbooth (1994) Larry / Leon
Hand Gun (1994) Jack McCallister
Dark Side of Genius (1994) Samuel Rourke
Chicago Hope (1994)  Norman Cambridge (1 episode, 1997)
Under Suspicion (1994)  Lt. Mickey Schwartz (17 episodes, 1994-1995)
ER (1994)  Alfred Gower (1 episode, 2007)
Whew! (1994)
Boiling Point (1993) Virgil Leach
Indecent Proposal (1993) Mr. Shackleford
Trouble Bound (1993) Santino
When Pigs Fly (1993) Frank
What Happened to Pete (1992) Bartender
Adventures in Spying (1992) Ray Rucker
Honeymoon in Vegas (1992) Tony Cataracts
In the Soup (1992) Joe
Chain of Desire (1992) Mel
Love Is Like That (1992) Uncle Bud
Diary of a Hitman (1991) Koenig
Mobsters (1991) Father Bonotto
White Fang (1991) Skunker
Cold Heaven (1991) Tom Farrelly
Días de cine (1991)  Himself (1 episode, 1992)
Hollywood Mavericks (1990) Chet (archive footage) (uncredited)
Cold Dog Soup (1990) Jojo
Dick Tracy (1990) Sam Catchem
Wicked Stepmother (1989) Feldshine, Magick Shop Owner
Colors (1988) Officer Sullivan
Johnny Be Good (1988) Wallace Gibson
Track 29 (1988) Dr. Bernard Fairmont
Plain Clothes (1987) Ed Malmburg
Survival Game (1987) Dave Forrest
Best Seller (1987) Carter (uncredited)
Tin Men (1987) Cheese
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987)  Lt. Cmdr. Hester Dealt (1 episode, 1988)
Hooperman (1987) (1 episode, 1987)
Ohara (1987)  Todd Ames (1 episode, 1988)
Eye of the Tiger (1986) Sheriff
Matlock (1986)  Dick Silvers / ... (3 episodes, 1988)
Love Streams (1984) Jack Lawson
I'm Almost Not Crazy: John Cassavetes - the Man and His Work (1984) Himself
Double Exposure (1983) Dr. Frank Curtis
Tales from the Darkside (1983)  Howard (1 episode, 1987)
King of the Mountain (1981) Barry Tanner
The Mountain Men (1980) La Bont
Sunburn (1979) Dobbs
California Dreaming (1979) Duke Slusarski
Ravagers (1979) Blind Lawyer
Convoy (1978) Governer Jerry Haskins
Opening Night (1977) Cameo appearance (uncredited)
Valentino (1977) George Ullman
Black Oak Conspiracy (1977) Homer Metcalf
Death Game (1977) George Manning
The Last Tycoon (1976) Seal Trainer
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976) Mort Weil
Two Tons of Turquoise to Taos Tonight (1975) Wise Guy (uncredited)
Emergency! (1972)  Bluebell Hunter (1 episode, 1972)
Minnie and Moskowitz (1971) Seymour Moskowitz
The Revolutionary (1970) Leonard II
The David Frost Show (1969)  Himself (1 episode, 1971)
Coogan's Bluff (1968) Young Hood
The Sweet Ride (1968) Surfer / Cyclist (uncredited)
Faces (1968) Chet
The Invaders (1967)  Driver (1 episode, 1967)
Cimarron Strip (1967)  Spock (1 episode, 1967)
Batman (1966)  Cancelled (2 episodes, 1967)
The F.B.I. (1965)  Attendant / ... (3 episodes, 1965-1967)
Laredo (1965)  Jud (1 episode, 1965)
Convoy (1965)  Phelps (1 episode, 1965)
The Killers (1964) Postal Clerk
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1964)  Jensen (2 episodes, 1966-1968)
12 O'Clock High (1964)  Capt. Johnson / ... (6 episodes, 1965-1966)
The Nutty Professor (1963) Bored Man (uncredited)
The Fugitive (1963)  Cabbie (1 episode, 1967)
Burke's Law (1963)  Artie (1 episode, 1964)
Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre (1963)  Somebody (1 episode, 1964)
The Webster Boy (1962) Vic
Combat! (1962)  Doctor (1 episode, 1964)
The Lloyd Bridges Show (1962)  Lawyer / ... (2 episodes, 1962-1963)
Too Late Blues (1961) Red
Murder, Inc. (1960) Teenager (uncredited)
Man on a String (1960) Hotel Pageboy (uncredited)
Juke Box Racket (1960) Seymour
My Three Sons (1960)  Coach Gregson (1 episode, 1966)
Shadows (1959) (uncredited)
Twilight Zone (1959)  Jerry (uncredited) (1 episode, 1964)
Wagon Train (1957)  Ed (1 episode, 1963)
The Last Beat (0) Fred Kantor
Mis-Fits (0)
The Next Cassavetes (0) Seymour Cassel
Six Gun Dead (0) Dr. Darwin Bishop
Time Framed (0) Boris Esla

Producer ( 1 credit )

Shadows (1959) associate producer