Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Remembering Rod Steiger
Rodney Stephen Steiger was born on April 14, 1925 in Westhampton, New York. Rod never knew his father who was a vaudeville actor who had been part of a traveling song and dance team with Rod's mother. His mother was an alcoholic and Rod left home at sixteen and joined the Navy during World War II. After the war he went to New Jersey and joined a drama group before going to New York and studying under Stella Adler. He then obtained work in stage plays and early television in the 1950s. He appeared in the lead role of “Marty” on TV and turned down the film role which was given to Ernest Borgnine, who won an Academy Award. Rod would go on to appear in over 100 films and won an Academy Award for his role in “The Heat of the Night” (1967) opposite Sidney Poitier. Steiger also was nominated for a Best Supporting Oscar for “On the Waterfront” (1954) and again for “The Pawnbroker” (1965). Rod appeared in only one Euro-Western Sergio Leone's “Duck You Sucker” (1971) as Juan Miranda. Married five times Rod had heart bypass surgery in 1976 and fell into a state of depression for the following eight years. He died July 9, 2002 from pneumonia and complications from gall bladder surgery. Today we celebrate what would have been Rod Steigers 85th birthday.