Benito Daniel Piazza
July 30, 1933
Little Rock, Arkansas, U.S.
|Died||September 7, 1991 (aged 58)|
Sherman Oaks, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale)|
|Alma mater||Princeton University (1955)|
|Occupation||Actor, playwright, author|
|Known for||The Very Strange and Exact Truth (1964 novel)|
|The Hanging Tree|
(m. 1967; div. 1979)
|Partner(s)||Wayne Tripp (1973–1991)|
Ben Piazza (July 30, 1933 – September 7, 1991) was an American actor.
Life and career
He made his film debut in Sidney J. Furie's Canadian film A Dangerous Age (1959) followed by his Hollywood debut in The Hanging Tree (1959). Though he signed contracts with Warner Bros. and Gary Cooper's production companies for five years he didn't make another film until No Exit (1962).
A prolific television and film character actor, Piazza is perhaps most widely recognized as the wealthy restaurant patron in John Landis' 1980 comedy hit The Blues Brothers from whom Jake (John Belushi) offers to purchase his wife and daughter. Prior to that, he also played the violent boyfriend who scars Liza Minnelli's character's face in Otto Preminger's Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon (1970). Piazza's other film appearances include The Candy Snatchers (1973), The Bad News Bears (1976), I Never Promised You a Rose Garden (1977), Nightwing (1979), Peter Bogdanovich's Mask (1985), Clean and Sober (1988), and Guilty by Suspicion (1991), where he portrayed Hollywood film director/mogul Darryl F. Zanuck.
Piazza also wrote plays and a novel, The Exact and Very Strange Truth (1964), a coming-of-age story about an Italian-American boy in Little Rock, Arkansas, which was Piazza’s hometown. However, Ben wrote in the book’s introduction that any resemblance between the characters and real people was “irrelevant,” although the parallels to his own life were unmistakable. Piazza dedicated the book to openly gay playwright Edward Albee, who was a close friend.
Personal life and death
- A Dangerous Age (1957) - David
- The Hanging Tree (1959) - Rune
- No Exit (1962) - Camarero
- Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon (1970) - Jesse
- The Outside Man (1972) - Desk Clerk
- The Candy Snatchers (1973) - Avery
- The Bad News Bears (1976) - Bob Whitewood
- I Never Promised You a Rose Garden (1977) - Jay Blake
- Nightwing (1979) - Roger Piggott
- The Concorde ... Airport '79 (1979) - Associate (TV version) (uncredited)
- The Blues Brothers (1980) - Father
- Waltz Across Texas (1982) - Bill Wrather
- Mask (1985) - Mr. Simms
- Clean and Sober (1988) - Kramer
- Rocky V (1990) - Doctor (uncredited)
- Guilty by Suspicion (1991) - Darryl Zanuck
- "Little Rock Look Back: Ben Piazza". Little Rock Culture Vulture (.com). July 30, 2013. Retrieved February 9, 2016.
- The Very Exact and Strange Truth at Neglected Books website
- Ben Piazza bio reference at the Encyclopedia of Arkansas website
- "Ben Piazza Obituary". Sarasota Herald Tribune. September 16, 1991. Retrieved February 9, 2016.
- The Exact and Very Strange Truth, By Ben Piazza, 326 pages, Publisher: Farrar, Straus; First Edition - First Printing edition, 1964, English, ASIN B0007DZ7WG, ISBN 9780014105380.
- "Ben Piazza; Broadway, Screen Actor". Los Angeles Times. September 14, 1991. Retrieved February 9, 2016.
- Ben Piazza on IMDb
- Ben Piazza at the Internet Broadway Database
- Ben Piazza (juvenile credits) at the Internet Broadway Database
- Ben Piazza at Find a Grave
- Ben Piazza at the University of Wisconsin's Actors Studio audio collection
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