Today, indie film fans should take a minute to remember the late, great John Cassavetes on the 25th anniversary of his death. As an actor, Cassavetes was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 1967 for his scene-stealing role as private Viktor R. Franko in the war film classic, The Dirty Dozen, and a year later he played the devilish husband in Rosemary’s Baby. But it was his pioneering role behind the camera as a screenwriter and director that earned him the unofficial title of “father of American independent cinema.”
Using money he made acting in television, Cassavetes left the studio system and went his own way, making movies in a groundbreaking cinema verite style. And he found an indie kindred spirit in his friend, photographer and producer Sam Shaw.
Shaw, who is known for his legendary “flying skirt” photo of Marilyn Monroe and the famous ripped t-shirt portrait of Marlon Brando, produced many of Cassavetes’ films including A Woman Under the Influence (1974), Gloria (1980), Husbands (1970) and Opening Night (1977).
So to remember the indie film icon, here’s a look at Cassavetes, as seen through the lens of his friend, Sam Shaw.