Actor and film editor Frank Mazzola, who appeared in small roles in several Hollywood classics including Rebel Without A Cause, Casablanca, East Of Eden and The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, has died. He was 79.
In June, Mazzola, who had Alzheimer’s, went missing for four days in LA before being found with the help of police and Catherine Hader, his wife of 19 years.
Born in Hollywood in 1935 – his father was the first contract player at Fox Studios – Mazzola was only 4 when he was cast in The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, and 7 when he landed a small role in Casablanca. During a school break from the University of Oregon, he auditioned for Rebel Without A Cause, winning the role of Crunch. He was also a technical adviser on the film.
According to Rolling Stone magazine, “He ended up helping director Nicholas Ray and screenwriter Stewart Stern shape Rebel into an accurate piece of 1955 sociology.” Ray said in one of his biographies that “The knife duel between Jim (James Dean) and Buzz (Corey Allen) was staged with the aid of Frank Mazzola.” Ray summed it up by signing a Rebel poster with a personal note of thanks, “For Frank Mazzola who helped so much to make the texture of Rebel into a living realty.”
Working behind the camera as an assistant at Universal Studios, Mazzola also was involved in the production of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho and Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus. He later worked as an assistant at Fox studios and at the Mirisch Corp.
Turning to film editing in the late 1960s, he was the assistant film editor on Blake Edwards’ The Party. He also worked on such films as Macho Callahan, Stiletto, and a re-edit of La Piscine, as well as creating montages for Donald Cammell’s Performance. He also worked in the editorial department on Peter Fonda’s 1971 directorial debut, The Hired Hand, and on Cammell’s Demon Seed.