John Holland Cazale (; Italian pronunciation: [kaˈdzaːle]; August 12, 1935 – March 13, 1978) was an American actor. He appeared in five films over a period of six years, all of which were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture: The Godfather, The Conversation, The Godfather Part II, Dog Day Afternoon, and The Deer Hunter. He appeared in archival footage in The Godfather Part III, also nominated for Best Picture. From his start as a theater actor, he became one of Hollywood's premier character actors, starting with his role as the doomed, weak-minded Fredo Corleone opposite longtime friend Al Pacino in Francis Ford Coppola's film The Godfather and its 1974 sequel. Cazale chose to continue acting despite being diagnosed with lung cancer. He died in New York City on March 13, 1978, shortly after completing his role in The Deer Hunter.
Theatre producer Joseph Papp called Cazale "an amazing intellect, an extraordinary person and a fine, dedicated artist". A film documentary tribute to Cazale, I Knew It Was You, was screened at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and featured interviews with Pacino, Steve Buscemi, Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro, Gene Hackman, Richard Dreyfuss, Francis Ford Coppola, and Sidney Lumet.
Despite trying a number of treatments and protocols, the cancer metastasized to his bones. At approximately 3 a.m. on Monday, March 13, 1978, John Cazale died. Meryl Streep was at his side, as she had been throughout his illness. Close friend and Godfather co-star Al Pacino said: "I've hardly ever seen a person so devoted to someone who is falling away like John was. To see her in that act of love for this man was overwhelming."
His close friend and frequent collaborator, Israel Horovitz, wrote a eulogy, published in the Village Voice on March 27, 1978. In it, he said: