'Tough-guy' actor Ben Gazzara dies, aged 81

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The actor Ben Gazzara, who starred in the original Broadway production of Tennessee Williams's play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, died of pancreatic cancer on Friday. He was 81.

Since the 1950s, Gazzara had performed in many landmark productions on stage and screen, often playing intense, tough-guy roles, including the cult 1998 film The Big Lebowski. The New York son of Sicilian immigrants, Gazzara, an early practitioner of method acting, trained with James Dean, Marlon Brando and Paul Newman.