Ben Piazza

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Ben Piazza
Born Benito Daniel Piazza
(1933-07-30)July 30, 1933
Little Rock, Arkansas, U.S.
Died September 7, 1991(1991-09-07) (aged 58)
Sherman Oaks, California, U.S.
Cause of death Cancer[1]
Resting place Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale)
Alma mater Princeton University (1955)[2]
Occupation actor; playwright; author
Years active 1951–1991
Known for The Very Strange and Exact Truth (1964 novel)[3]
Notable work The Hanging Tree
Spouse(s) Dolores Dorn (m. 1967; div. 1979)
Partner(s) Wayne Tripp (1973-1991)[4]
Parent(s) Charles Piazza
Elfreida Piazza

Ben Piazza (July 30, 1933 – September 7, 1991) was an American actor.

Life and career[edit]

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 signed to contracts with Warner Bros. and Gary Cooper's production companies for five years[5] 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),[3][6] 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[edit]

Piazza was married to actress Dolores Dorn.[4] He died of AIDS-related cancer and was survived by his companion of 18 years, Wayne Tripp, two sisters, and two brothers.[1]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Ben Piazza; Broadway, Screen Actor". Los Angeles Times. September 14, 1991. Retrieved February 9, 2016. 
  2. ^ "Little Rock Look Back: Ben Piazza". Little Rock Culture Vulture (.com). July 30, 2013. Retrieved February 9, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b The Very Exact and Strange Truth at Neglected Books website
  4. ^ a b Ben Piazza bio reference at the Encyclopedia of Arkansas website
  5. ^ "Ben Piazza Obituary". Sarasota Herald Tribune. September 16, 1991. Retrieved February 9, 2016. 
  6. ^ 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.

External links[edit]