A blond, often mustachioed, and scruffy character player best known as an integral member of John Cassavetes' informal clan of actors, Seymour Cassel received an early introduction to show business, traveling with a troupe of touring burlesque performers that included his mother. After living for several years in Panama, where his family owned a nightclub, he moved to NYC to pursue an acting career, studying with the American Theatre Wing and with Lee Strasberg's famed Actors Studio. Cassel met Cassavetes at the future director's 46th Street acting workshop in 1957, eventually teaching alongside him and serving as associate producer on Cassavetes' directorial debut, "Shadows" (1960). A versatile, engaging talent, Cassel made the first of seven appearances for Cassavetes in "Too Late Blues" (1961) and also acted three times under director Don Siegel. He first achieved prominence as an aging hippie street hustler who saves a middle-aged housewife (Lynn Carlin) from suicide in Cassavetes' "Faces" (1968), earning an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actor. His largest role for Cassavetes came as yet another hippie opposite the director's wife Gena Rowlands in "Minnie and Moskowitz" (1971), a kitchen sink romantic comedy with roles galore for Cassel and Cassavetes family members.