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Seymour Cassel, longtime character actor from Twilight Zone to Dick Tracy, dead at 84

By Christian Long
Seymour Cassel Rushmore

A veteran character actor and one of Hollywood's most endearing "that guy" types, Seymour Cassel has passed away at the age of 84. He died Sunday in Los Angeles from Alzheimer’s disease, according to a report from Variety.

Born in 1935 in Detroit, Cassel began his career 23 years later with a role in John Cassavetes' first film, Shadows, while also pulling double duty as an associate producer. He went on to appear in a number of Cassavetes' films, while also playing his fair share of genre roles over his long career.

Cassel appeared in horror anthologies like The Twilight Zone and Tales From the Darkside, in the latter working alongside future Twin Peaks star (and fellow go-to character actor) Robert Forster. He also played the role of Cancelled, one of the henchmen of Colonel Gumm (Roger C. Carmel), in the '60s Batman series, as well as Lieutenant Commander Hester Dealt in Star Trek: The Next Generation. On the big screen, he played eager crimefighter Sam Catchem in Warren Beatty's 1990 Dick Tracy feature film.

He was nominated for an Academy Award in 1968 for his role as Chet in Cassavetes' cinema verite Faces, and while he lost to Jack Albertson, he did win the National Society of Film Critics Award for his performance. He also won the Sundance Jury Prize in 1992 for his performance in the drama In the Soup opposite Steve Buscemi.

More recently, Cassel became recognized for his prominent roles in a trio of Wes Anderson movies: Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, and The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou.

Cassel is survived by his three children — Lisa Papciak, Matthew Cassel, and Dilyn Cassel Murphy — as well as seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.