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Rod Steiger , real name Rodney Stephen Steiger (Westhampton, New York, April 14, 1925 – Los Angeles, California, July 9, 2002) was an American actor who won the Oscar prize.
Rod Steiger’s Biography
He left school at age 16 and enlisted in the Marines. The Second World War passed in a destroyer in the Pacific.
Steiger’s career as an actor began while performing civilian services in the navy after the war. The help that the state provided to soldiers returning from the front allowed him to enroll in the New School for Social Research, where he studied dramatic art. In 1951 he was a student of the American Theater Wing and after the famous Actor’s Studio, school of interpretation of which Steiger was one of the most gifted students. He had the opportunity to intervene in the movie film Teresa in which he made a correct interpretation. While he continued in the theater and on television, he was offered the starring role in the television version of Marty, for which Ernest Borgnine had won an Oscar in the film. Shortly after he had his real chance in the cinema, to get the lead role in the classic The law of silence, along with Marlon Brando, a film with which he became widely known.
Steiger was a great character actor. Some critics said that in his performances he exaggerated his characters. However, he played for a good part of his career as a film actor hard individuals, and even violent, but sometimes also able to show their human side; examples are the films Yuma by Samuel Fuller (with Sara Montiel) and In the Heat of the Night (1967), with Sydney Poitier, for which he received the Oscar as best leading actor, and in which he plays the police chief from a small town in the South, who has to accept the visit of a black FBI agent to clear up a crime.
Steiger’s physique was not attractive. His appearance was not particularly pleasant and he was corpulent. For that reason he was repeatedly given roles of fictional and real characters of strong character. This is how he played Al Capone in the 1959 film of the same name, and Napoleon in Waterloo, a 1970 film, in which he made an extraordinary characterization of the historical character. At a later stage of his career, Steiger also made several films in Europe. The European directors with whom he worked knew how to take advantage of his expressive acting style, achieving nevertheless more balanced interpretations.
In 1977, he intervened and made a solid characterization of Pontius Pilate in the film for television that has become a classic of Holy Week: Jesus of Nazareth. In his old age, he participated in such popular films as The Specialist (starring Sylvester Stallone and Sharon Stone), Mars Attacks! by Tim Burton and Crazy in Alabama (directorial debut of Antonio Banderas).
Throughout his career in film, Steiger remained faithful to the medium he had started with, television, and appeared from time to time in movies and mini-television series.
Steiger was married five times, one of them with the well-known actress Claire Bloom. He had a daughter with this wife, and a son with another. He died in Los Angeles at 77 years of age, as a result of pneumonia and kidney failure.
More Facts about Rod Steiger
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