Few screen debuts have equalled the searing malevolence of Ben Gazzara's Iago-inspired Jocko De Paris in The Strange One (1957). The role, which he had created on stage, became forever associated with this intense graduate of New York's method school of acting.
Gazzara, who has died aged 81 of pancreatic cancer, continued his stage career in modern classics including Epitaph for George Dillon and as the humiliated and vengeful George in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? He also achieved popular acclaim through television series – notably Run for Your Life (1965-68) – and in movies for his friend John Cassavetes and other directors including Otto Preminger, Peter Bogdanovich, David Mamet, Todd Solondz and the Coen brothers.
Gazzara was born to Sicilian immigrants and grew up on Manhattan's lower east side. He began acting at the Madison Square Boys Club and