Richest CelebritiesActors
Net Worth:
$2 Million
Date of Birth:
Aug 12, 1935 - Mar 12, 1978 (42 years old)
Place of Birth:
5 ft 10 in (1.791 m)
United States of America
💰 Compare John Cazale's Net Worth

What was John Cazale's Net Worth?

John Cazale was an American actor who had a net worth of $2 million at the time of his death. During his tragically short career, all five of his featured films were nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award. Those movies are "The Godfather," "The Godfather: Part II," "The Conversation," "Dog Day Afternoon," and "The Deer Hunter." The Godfather, The Godfather: Part II and The Deer Hunter went on to win the award. He also appeared in many regional, off-Broadway, and Broadway theatrical productions. After completing his work on "The Deer Hunter," his fifth feature film, Cazale passed away from lung cancer on March 12, 1978 at 42 years old..

Early Life and Education

John Cazale was born on August 12, 1935 in Revere, Massachusetts to Irish-American mother Cecilia and Italian-American father John. He had an older sister named Catherine and a younger brother named Stephen, and was raised in Winchester. Cazale was educated at Buxton School in Williamstown, where he participated in the drama club. He went on to attend Oberlin College in Ohio before transferring to Boston University.

Theatrical Career, 1959-1971

In 1959, Cazale began his theatrical career at the Charles Playhouse in Boston with roles in "Hotel Paradiso" and "Our Town." During this time, he also worked as a cab driver. Cazale eventually moved to New York City, where he looked for acting work while doing professional photography. One of his first theatrical roles in the city was in the Equity Library's production of "Paths of Glory." Following that, in 1962, Cazale appeared in a production of Archibald MacLeish's play "J.B." In 1965, he joined the national tour of Lorraine Hansberry's "The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window."

After meeting fellow rising actor Al Pacino while working at Standard Oil, Cazale appeared alongside him in the 1966 one-act play "The Indian Wants the Bronx," playing in Waterford, Connecticut. The two reprised their roles in an off-Broadway production of the play in 1968, earning them both Obie Awards. Cazale won another Obie for his work in the one-act play "Line." He went on to appear in a number of other plays throughout the remainder of the 60s and into the early 70s. With Connecticut's Long Wharf Theatre Company, Cazale was in "Tartuffe," "The Skin of Our Teeth," and "The Iceman Cometh," among other plays.

Film Career

In 1972, Cazale made the transition to cinema with his debut feature film, Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather." He played Fredo Corleone, the timid, doomed older brother of Al Pacino's Michael. "The Godfather" was an enormous commercial and critical hit, smashing box-office records and winning the Academy Award for Best Picture. As a result, Cazale was launched to mainstream stardom. He would reprise his role in 1974's "The Godfather: Part II," which also claimed the Academy Award for Best Picture. That same year, Cazale starred opposite Gene Hackman in another acclaimed film by Francis Ford Coppola, "The Conversation."

Cazale reunited with Al Pacino in 1975 for Sidney Lumet's crime drama "Dog Day Afternoon." He played Sal Naturile, the accomplice of Pacino's Sonny Wortzik, who helps his friend on a chaotic bank robbery in Brooklyn. The film was another smashing success; in addition to earning a Best Picture Academy Award nomination, it garnered Cazale a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Cazale appeared in his final film, Michael Cimino's Vietnam War drama "The Deer Hunter," in 1978. He appeared alongside Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, John Savage, and Meryl Streep. "The Deer Hunter" went on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, making it Cazale's third film to do so.


Theatrical Career, 1975-1977

While he was finding great success on film, Cazale returned to the stage in 1975. He was in several plays by Israel Horovitz, and supported Pacino in a production of Brecht's "The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui." In 1976, Cazale appeared alongside Pacino for the final time in "The Local Stigmatic." Also that year, he starred alongside Sam Waterston and Meryl Streep in "Measure for Measure" in Central Park. Cazale gave his final performance on stage in the spring of 1977, starring in the titular role of "Agamemnon" at Broadway's Vivian Beaumont Theatre. However, he only appeared in the first preview of the show before having to withdraw due to his illness.

Personal Life and Death

Cazale was in a romantic relationship with Meryl Streep, who starred alongside him in Shakespeare's "Measure for Measure" at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park. The two also acted together in "The Deer Hunter."

In 1977, Cazale was diagnosed with lung cancer. He had a history of chronic smoking. Shortly after completing his work on "The Deer Hunter," he passed away in March of 1978 at the age of 42. Streep was at his side throughout.


Although he was never nominated for an Academy Award, Cazale is unique in that all five of the feature films he starred in were nominated for Best Picture, with three of them winning. His acting style has been very influential to other actors, including Steve Buscemi, Sam Rockwell, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Michael Fassbender. Cazale is the subject of the 2009 documentary film "I Knew It Was You," directed by Richard Shepard and featuring interviews with Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro, Gene Hackman, and Francis Ford Coppola, among many other close collaborators and friends.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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