Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Gazeteer*, Gazzette* (for Gazette*)

The son of Sicilian immigrants, actor Ben Gazzara grew up on the Lower East Side of New York, a neighborhood no self-respecting homeboy should ever need a gazetteer to locate. He was the original Brick in the Broadway production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and went on to make quite a few films in Hollywood. True to his roots, he often played "tough guys" in the movies and claimed his early interest in acting shielded him from a teenage life of crime. Gazzara had a steely gaze that could also melt ice—or anything cold and hard on the streets of the city. This was a man who conducted a tender love affair with the self-doubting Audrey Hepburn on the one hand and plotted a daring escape from Czechoslovakia with The Man from U.N.C.L.E.'s Robert Vaughan on the other. Ben Gazzara is undeniably cool and leaves the admiring viewer both shaken and stirred. Although an OhioLINK search on Gazete* returned too many foreign words to be of much help, we got 79 hits on the typo Gazeteer* and 13 on Gazzette*.

(Portrait of Ben Gazzara by Carl Van Vechten, 1955, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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