Rod Steiger

Biography

Date of Birth 14 April 1925, Westhampton, New York, USA Date of Death 9 July 2002, Los Angeles, California, USA (pneumonia and kidney failure) Birth Name Rodney Stephen Steiger Height 5' 10" (1.78 m) Rod Steiger was an American Academy Award-winning actor best known for his intense performances in such films as In the Heat of the Night, On the Waterfront and Doctor Zhivago. Steiger was born Rodney Stephen Steiger in Westhampton, New York to Lorraine (née Driver) and Frederick Steiger,[1][2] of French, Scottish, and German descent.[3][4] Steiger was raised in the Lutheran religion.[3][5] He never knew his father, a vaudevillian who had been part of a travelling song-and-dance team with Steiger's mother (who subsequently left show business).[4] Steiger grew up with his alcoholic mother before running away from home at age sixteen to join the United States Navy during World War II, where he saw combat on destroyers in the Pacific.[6] After the war, he returned to New Jersey and joined a drama group before studying drama full-time under Lee Strasberg and Elia Kazan at The Actor's Studio. Steiger appeared in over 100 motion pictures. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his portrayal of Sheriff Bill Gillespie in In the Heat of the Night (1967) opposite Sidney Poitier. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for On the Waterfront (1954), in which he played Marlon Brando's character's brother. The most famous scene in the film is when Brando's Terry Malloy tells his brother that he "coulda been a contender". He was nominated again, this time for Best Actor, for the gritty The Pawnbroker (1965), a Sidney Lumet film in which Steiger portrays an emotionally withdrawn Holocaust survivor living in New York City. He played Jud Fry in the film version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Oklahoma!, in which he did his own singing. One of his favorite roles was as the rapacious aristocrat Komarovsky in Doctor Zhivago (1965). Steiger, the only American in the cast of that film, was initially apprehensive about working with such great British actors as Ralph Richardson and Alec Guinness, and was afraid that he would stick out. However, his fears proved unfounded, as he won much acclaim for his role in this film. He also befriended fellow actor Tom Courtenay on this film; the two remained friends until Steiger's death. [7] He appeared in memorable roles: inThe Big Knife as an overly aggressive movie studio boss who berates movie star Jack Palance; as Al Capone in Al Capone (1959); as the unforgettable Mr. Joyboy in The Loved One; as a theatre actor-serial killer in No Way to Treat a Lady; and as a tragically repressed gay military officer in The Sergeant. He also played well known figures such as Napoleon Bonaparte in Waterloo (1970); Benito Mussolini in The Last Four Days (1974) and again in Lion in the Desert (1981); W.C. Fields in W.C. Fields and Me (1976); Pontius Pilate in Franco Zeffirelli's TV miniseries Jesus of Nazareth (1977); and mob boss Sam Giancana in the TV miniseries Sinatra (1992). He appeared in several Italian films including both Francesco Rosi's Hands Over the City (1963) and Lucky Luciano (1974), and also Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dynamite (1971). In France, he starred in Claude Chabrol's Innocents with Dirty Hands opposite Romy Schneider. Among his best known roles in his later years was as the priest who gets pestered by flies in The Amityville Horror (1979); the Latin American crime lord in The Specialist (1994) opposite Sylvester Stallone and Sharon Stone; and as an aggressive gung-ho general in Tim Burton's Mars Attacks!. On television, he appeared in the miniseries Jackie Collins' Hollywood Wives (1985), Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City (1993) and a 1995 Columbo TV movie. Among his final feature film roles was as the judge in the Denzel Washington prison drama The Hurricane (1999). The film reunited him with director Norman Jewison, who directed him in In the Heat of the Night and the 1978 Stallone film F.I.S.T. Steiger also starred in the film version of Kurt Vonnegut's play Happy Birthday, Wanda June (1971). In 1969, he appeared in the film adaptation of Ray Bradbury's The Illustrated Man with his then wife Claire Bloom. He was offered the title role in Patton but turned it down because he did not want to glorify war. The role was then given to George C. Scott, who won a Best Actor Oscar. Steiger called this refusal his "dumbest career move". He also tried out for The Godfather. Steiger has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7080 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California. Steiger had five wives: the actress Sally Gracie (married 1952-divorced 1958), the actress Claire Bloom (married 1959-divorced 1969), Sherry Nelson (married 1973-divorced 1979), Paula Ellis (married 1986-divorced 1997) and the actress Joan Benedict (married 2000-his death 2002). He had a daughter, the opera singer Anna Steiger (born in 1965), from his marriage to Bloom, and a son by his marriage to Ellis. He had a love affair with Diana Dors when they met during the filming of The Unholy Wife. After undergoing triple heart bypass surgery in 1976, Steiger fell into a serious depression for eight years. He died in Los Angeles at the age of 77, of pneumonia and complications from surgery for a (presumably malignant) gall bladder tumor. He is interred in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills, in Los Angeles, California.

Expand
Person Photo

Birth Name

Rodney Stephan Steiger

Birth Place

Westhampton, New York, USA

Birth Date

4/14/1925

Death Date

7/9/2002
Known For
Movie Poster

A Fistful of Dynamite

Juan Miranda

Movie Poster

The Amityville Horror

Father Delaney

Movie Poster

The Specialist

Joe Leon

Movie Poster

Waterloo

Napoleon Bonaparte

Movie Poster

F.I.S.T.

Senator Madison

Movie Poster

The Harder They Fall

Nick Benko

Movie Poster

The Pawnbroker

Sol Nazerman

Movie Poster

Breakthrough

Gen. Webster

Movie Poster

Hands Over the City

Edoardo Nottola

Movie Poster

Jubal

'Pinky' Pinkum

Starring In
Movie Poster

A Month of Sundays

Charley McCabe

Movie Poster

James Dean: Forever Young

Self (archive footage)

Movie Poster

Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust

Himself

Movie Poster

Poolhall Junkies

Nick

Movie Poster

The Final Hit (2000)

Sheri Ganse

Movie Poster

The Hollywood Sign

Floyd Benson

Movie Poster

Frozen in Fear

Ben

Movie Poster

The Hurricane

Judge Sarokin

Movie Poster

End of Days

Father Kovak

Movie Poster

Crazy in Alabama

Judge Louis Mead

Movie Poster

Shiloh 2: Shiloh Season

Doc Wallace

Movie Poster

50 Years: The Best Of Hollywood

Interview (archive footage)

Movie Poster

Modern Vampires

Dr. Frederick Van Helsing

Movie Poster

Body and Soul

Johnny Ticotin

Movie Poster

Incognito

Milton A. Donovan

Movie Poster

Legacy

Sadler

Movie Poster

The Kid

Harry Sloan

Movie Poster

Truth or Consequences N.M.

Tony Vago

Movie Poster

Catch the Heat

Jason Hannibal

Movie Poster

Off the Menu - The Last Days of Chasen's

Himself

Movie Poster

Carpool

Mr. Hammerman

Movie Poster

Mars Attacks!

General Decker

Movie Poster

Shiloh

Doc Wallace

Movie Poster

Dalva

John Wesley Northridge II

Movie Poster

Out There

Col. Buck Gunner

Movie Poster

In Pursuit of Honor

Col. Owen Stuart

Movie Poster

Scelte del Cuore

Anthony Comstock

Movie Poster

The Specialist

Joe Leon

Movie Poster

Tales Of The City - Series 1

Bookshop Owner (2 episodes, 1993)

Movie Poster

The Neighbor

Dr. Myron Hatch

Movie Poster

The Player

Rod Steiger

Movie Poster

Sinatra - Der Weg an die Spitze

Salvatore 'Sam' 'Momo' Giancana

Movie Poster

In the Line of Duty: Manhunt in the Dakotas

Gordon Kahl

Movie Poster

Guilty as Charged

Kallin

Movie Poster

The Ballad of the Sad Cafe

Rev. Willin

Movie Poster

Men of Respect

Charlie D'Amico

Movie Poster

The January Man

Mayor Eamon Flynn

Movie Poster

Hello Actors Studio

Self

Movie Poster

American Gothic

Pa

Movie Poster

The Kindred

Dr. Phillip Lloyd

Movie Poster

Sword of Gideon

Mordechai Samuels

Movie Poster

The Naked Face

Lieutenant McGreary

Movie Poster

The Glory Boys

Professor David Sokarev (unknown episodes)

Movie Poster

Cook & Peary: The Race to the Pole

Robert E. Peary

Movie Poster

The Chosen

Reb Saunders

Movie Poster

The Lion Of The Desert

Benito Mussolini

Movie Poster

Cattle Annie and Little Britches

Tilghman

Movie Poster

The Lucky Star

Colonel Gluck

Movie Poster

Wolf Lake

Charlie

Movie Poster

The Amityville Horror

Father Delaney

Movie Poster

Breakthrough

Gen. Webster

Movie Poster

Love and Bullets

Joe Bomposa

Movie Poster

Portrait of a Hitman

Max Andreotti

Movie Poster

F.I.S.T.

Senator Madison

Movie Poster

W.C. Fields and Me

W.C. Fields

Movie Poster

Innocents With Dirty Hands

Louis Wormser

Movie Poster

Hennessy

Niall Hennessy

Movie Poster

Last Days of Mussolini

Benito Mussolini

Movie Poster

Lucky Luciano

Gene Giannini

Movie Poster

Lolly-Madonna XXX

Laban Feather

Movie Poster

Gli Eroi

Guenther von Lutz, German baron

Movie Poster

Happy Birthday, Wanda June

Harold Ryan

Movie Poster

A Fistful of Dynamite

Juan Miranda

Movie Poster

Waterloo

Napoleon Bonaparte

Movie Poster

Three Into Two Won't Go

Steve Howard

Movie Poster

The Illustrated Man

Carl

Movie Poster

Waterloo

Napoleon Bonaparte

Movie Poster

Il Sergente

MSgt. Albert Callan

Movie Poster

No Way to Treat a Lady

Christopher Gill

Movie Poster

In the Heat of the Night

Police Chief Bill Gillespie

Movie Poster

Doctor Zhivago

Victor Komarovsky

Movie Poster

The Pawnbroker

Sol Nazerman

Movie Poster

The Loved One

Mr. Joyboy

Movie Poster

Hands Over the City

Edoardo Nottola

Movie Poster

The Longest Day

Destroyer commander

Movie Poster

Tre Passi dalla Sedia Elettrica

Tiptoes

Movie Poster

Lutte sans Merci

Detective Sergeant Pete Koleski

Movie Poster

An einem Freitag um halb zwölf...

Frank Morgan

Movie Poster

Sieben Diebe

Paul Mason

Movie Poster

Al Capone

Al Capone

Movie Poster

Cry Terror!

Paul Hoplin

Movie Poster

Across the Bridge

Carl Schaffner

Movie Poster

Run of the Arrow

O'Meara

Movie Poster

Jubal

'Pinky' Pinkum

Movie Poster

The Harder They Fall

Nick Benko

Movie Poster

Back from Eternity

Vasquel

Movie Poster

The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell

Maj. Allan Guillion

Movie Poster

The Big Knife

Stanley Shriner Hoff

Movie Poster

Oklahoma!

Jud Fry

Movie Poster

On the Waterfront

Charley Malloy

Movie Poster

Tales of Tomorrow, Collection 3

Henry / ... (2 episodes, 1952-1953)

Movie Poster

Teresa

Frank

MobileIcon
app store google play