Ben Gazzara

Emmy-winning actor  Ben Gazzara, whose TV credits included Run for Your Life and Arrest and Trial, has died from pancreatic cancer. He was 81.

Gazzara's longtime friend Suzanne Mados said he died Friday in Manhattan after being placed in hospice care for cancer, according to The Associated Press.

Check out clips and interviews with Ben Gazzara

Throughout his career, Gazzara worked in film, television, and theater.

Born and raised in New York City, Gazzara got his start playing Brick Pollitt in the 1955 Broadway play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Shortly after he took on the role of Johnny Pope in A Hatful of Rain, for which he earned a Tony nomination.

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In the mid-1970s he worked alongside his friend, director John Cassavetes, on several films, including Opening Night.

His Opening Night co-star Gena Rowlands, Cassavetes' widow, said: "It breaks my heart to have this era come to an end. Ben meant so much to all of us."

He received two Emmy nominations during the three-season run (1965-68) of Run for Your Life on NBC, playing a man who is given a year or two to live and then tries to pack as much living as possible into the time he has left. Before that he played a detective in Arrest and Trial. He earned another Emmy nod for playing the father of an AIDS victim in the 1985 made-for-TV movie An Early Frost, in which Rowlands portrayed his wife. He finally won an Emmy for his performance in the 2002 HBO film Hysterical Blindness — again, as the love interest of Rowlands' character.

His film career included notable roles spanning a half-century from Anatomy of a Murder to The Big Lebowski

He is survived by his wife, German-born Elke Krivat, whom he married in 1982. He later adopted Krivat's daughter Danja. He is also survived by his brother, and daughter Elizabeth from a previous marriage.