Character actors aren’t often called larger-than-life, but Seymour Cassel, was just that. The live-wire pillar of independent film known for his frequent collaborations with John Cassavetes and Wes Anderson, has died at 84.
His daughter, Dilyn Cassel Murphy, said Monday that her father died Sunday surrounded by family following complications from Alzheimer’s disease.
With a thick head of hair, a distinctive voice — sly, squeaky and matter-of-fact — and a forehead lined with concern even as a young man, he always made an impression no matter how big the role, whether sharing top billing with Gena Rowlands as one-half of a volatile couple in “Minnie and Moskowitz” or posing as a cancer doctor for Gene Hackman in “The Royal Tenenbaums.”
He even left legacies outside of his own industry, as the man who coined the nickname Slash for the eventual Guns N’ Roses guitarist Saul Hudson (he was childhood friends with Cassel’s son).
Born in Detroit, Cassel travelled frequently with his burlesque dancer mother as a child, and never met his father.