A rascally presence on screen for more than five decades, character actor Seymour Cassel brought offbeat energy to roles both sizable and small in numerous studio and independent films, most notably those of his friends John Cassavetes and Wes Anderson. Born Seymour Joseph Cassel in Detroit, Michigan, he never knew his father, a salesman for a beer company, but began performing at the age of three on the same vaudeville and burlesque bills with his mother, Pancretia Ann Kearney, who danced on the Minsky's circuit in New York. A rebellious streak as a pre-teenager earned Cassel a one-way ticket back to Detroit to live with his godmother, but by his mid-teens, he had enlisted in the Navy, where he learned to box. He eventually found his way back to New York and studied acting with Stella Adler; while under her tutelage, Cassel met and befriended actor John Cassavetes, who gave him his first screen role, albeit uncredited, in his groundbreaking independent film "Shadows" (1958). Cassel followed Cassevetes to Los Angeles in 1959, and lived in the guesthouse at the home of the actor/director and his wife, actress, Gena Rowlands, while working his way from bit parts to guest roles on television series, including "The Twilight Zone" (CBS, 1959-1964), "12 O'Clock High" (ABC, 1964-1967) and "Batman" (ABC, 1965-1968), where he was featured in two 1967 as Cancelled, a henchman to Roger C. Carmel's Colonel Gumm. The following year, Cassavetes gave Cassel his breakout role as Chet, a hippie with whom unhappy suburban wife Lynn Carlin has an affair; he earned an Oscar nomination for his performance, and soon graduated to small roles in studio films, including "Coogan's Bluff" (1968), "The Last Tycoon" (1977) and "Convoy" (1978). His best work of the decade was for Cassavetes, who cast him as a parking lot attendant who falls for an embittered Rowlands in "Minnie and Moskowitz" (1971) and a double-crossing mobster in "The Killing of a Chinese Bookie" (1976), as well as a brief cameo as himself in "Opening Night" (1977). But Cassel undid much of the momentum provided by these films through drugs and alcohol, which eventually culminated in a six-month prison sentence for possession of cocaine. He completed rehab and returned to acting, reuniting with Cassavetes for his penultimate film, "Love Streams" (1984) and working his way up from episodic television and B-pictures to supporting roles as street-smart figures in projects for Barry Levinson ("Tin Men," 1987), Dennis Hopper ("Colors," 1988) and Warren Beatty ("Dick Tracy" 1990). In 1992, he charmed a new generation of independent film fans as a hustler who finances screenwriter Steve Buscemi's disastrous feature; his robust performance earned not only the Grand Jury Prize for acting at the Sundance Film Festival, but also the admiration of numerous filmmakers and actors, who tapped Cassel to lend his avuncular wiseguy persona to their projects. He enjoyed a long and fruitful series of collaborations with Wes Anderson, who cast him as kindly figures, like Jason Schwartzman's father in "Rushmore" (1998) and Gene Hackman's loyal doorman in "The Royal Tenenbaums" (2001); he also worked with Andrew Bergman ("Honeymoon in Vegas," 1992), the Hughes Brothers (an uncredited turn in "Dead Presidents," 1995), and Buscemi's directorial efforts ("Animal Factory," 2000). There were also numerous forays into television, most notably on multiple seasons of Tracey Ullman's "Tracey Takes On " (HBO, 1996-99), and two campaigns to head the Screen Actors Guild in 2007 and 2009. Cassel remained active in independent features and television until 2015; he succumbed to complications from Alzheimer's disease at the age of 84 on April 7, 2019.