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Jim Valentine, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0
Jim Valentine, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

5 Things You Didn't Know About John Cazale

Jim Valentine, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0
Jim Valentine, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

John Cazale may not be a household name, but if you enjoyed classic films from the 1970s, chances are you'd recognize the vulnerable Italian-American character actor from his handful of memorable roles in films like The Godfather, where he played doomed Corleone brother Fredo. Although Cazale's career was cut short when he died from bone cancer at just 42, his brief stay in Hollywood generated one of the more interesting bodies of work in modern film. Let's take a look at five things you might not have known about Cazale:

1. He Batted a Thousand With the Academy

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While Cazale never earned an Oscar nomination himself, his films fared significantly better; every feature film in which he appeared received a nomination for best picture. Three of his films, The Godfather, The Godfather: Part II, and The Deer Hunter took home the top prize. The other two films Cazale made during his life, The Conversation and Dog Day Afternoon, both got nominations but didn't win. Here's the real kicker, though: The Godfather: Part III, which didn't come out until 12 years after Cazale's 1978 death, featured archival footage of Cazale in the Fredo Corleone role. It got a best picture nod, too.

2. Cazale and Al Pacino Worked the Oil Biz Together

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Cazale studied acting at Oberlin College before transferring to Boston University, where he trained with Olympia Dukakis. Acting gigs weren't easy to come by, though, so after graduation Cazale found himself working as a messenger for Standard Oil. Through his job, he met a fellow aspiring young actor named Al Pacino, and the two became fast friends, even living together in a communal house.

The two friends wouldn't stay in the oil business for long, though. Eventually they ended up performing in an off-Broadway performance of Israel Horovitz's one-act play The Indian Wants the Bronx in 1968. The play was an immediate hit with critics, which earned Pacino an Obie Award for Best Actor, while Cazale grabbed the Obie for Best Supporting Actor.

The Pacino-Cazale hookup wasn't finished bearing fruit, though. Cazale supposedly auditioned for his role in The Godfather at Pacino's invitation. Although the "I know it was you" scene between Cazale's Fredo and Pacino's Michael is one of the most memorable parts of the whole trilogy, the two buddies might have clicked even better in Dog Day Afternoon, the often hilarious adaptation of a bizarre real-life bank robbery. Although Pacino allegedly had to hound director Sidney Lumet to even give his buddy an audition for the film, Cazale's subtly nervous, sad-eyed portrayal of the gunman Sal provides the perfect counterpoint to Pacino's addled, hyperkinetic bank robber Sonny. (If you haven't seen Dog Day Afternoon, check it out; it's one of the most thoroughly entertaining movies you'll ever see.)

3. He Could Ad Lib a Line

Cazale ad-libbed one of Dog Day Afternoon's most memorable lines as he and Pacino's Sonny character discuss the specifics of their getaway. Rather than spoil the line, here's a not-so-great YouTube clip of the Cazale's improvised response to the Pacino's question of whether or not there's any special country he'd like to go to:

4. He Was Lucky in Love

Although Cazale was already famous as Fredo Corleone by 1976, he was still spending some time working in theater. That summer he starred in the New York Shakespeare Festival's performance of Measure for Measure. Although Cazale was 40, the 27-year-old blonde Yale grad playing Isabella caught his eye. The actress was unknown at the time, but you'll undoubtedly recognize her name now: Meryl Streep. After the play's premiere, Cazale and Streep admitted they had feelings for each other, and she moved into his apartment. Cazale soon proposed to Streep, and they would have eventually been married if not for his terminal bone cancer diagnosis. When Cazale was ill, Streep put her career on hold to live with him in his hospital room in an effort to cheer him up.

They weren't just romantic partners, though; Cazale and Streep had good luck in their one piece of screen work together. They co-starred in the Vietnam drama The Deer Hunter, which wasn't released until after Cazale's death, and Streep received a Best Supporting Actress nomination (the first of many Oscar nods) for her portrayal of Christopher Walken's fiancé.

5. He Was Tough to Insure

When casting for The Deer Hunter began, Cazale had already received his terminal bone cancer diagnosis. Director Michael Cimino really wanted Cazale to play the role of Stanley, but since the severe nature of Cazale's illness made the actor uninsurable, the studio wasn't so keen on the idea. Cimino stood his ground, though, and apparently Streep and De Niro both threatened to walk if Cazale didn't get the part. Eventually, the studio relented; Streep later theorized that the studio gave in after De Niro secretly secured the bond for Cazale's casting. The cancer had so weakened Cazale that Cimino had to film all of Cazale's scenes before shooting any other part of the movie.

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5 Things You Should Know About Robert Todd Lincoln
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Robert Todd Lincoln was Abraham Lincoln's oldest son and the only Lincoln child to survive into adulthood. While he didn't make quite the mark on history that his father did, Robert Lincoln had a pretty interesting life himself. Let's take a look at five things you might not know about him:

1. He Was on Ulysses S. Grant's Personal Staff

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Part of Abraham Lincoln's mystique lies in his humble roots as a self-made man who found education where he could. His eldest son didn't have to go through quite as many trials and tribulations to do some learning, though. Robert left Springfield, Illinois, to attend boarding school at New Hampshire's elite Phillips Exeter Academy when he was a young man, and he later graduated from Harvard during his father's presidency.

After completing his undergrad degree, Robert stuck around Cambridge to go to Harvard Law School, but that arrangement didn't last very long. After studying law for just a few months, Lincoln received a commission as a captain in the army. Lincoln's assignment put him on Ulysses S. Grant's personal staff, so he didn't see much fighting. He did get a nice view of history, though; Lincoln was present as part of Grant's junior staff at Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox Courthouse.

After the war ended, Lincoln moved to Chicago with his mother and brother and wrapped up his legal studies.

2. The Booth Family Did Him a Favor

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In 1863 or 1864, young Robert Lincoln was traveling by train from New York to Washington during a break from his studies at Harvard. He hopped off the train during a stop at Jersey City, only to find himself on an extremely crowded platform. To be polite, Lincoln stepped back to wait his turn to walk across the platform, his back pressed to one of the train's cars.

This situation probably seemed harmless enough until the train started moving, which whipped Lincoln around and dropped him into the space between the platform and train, an incredibly dangerous place to be.

Lincoln probably would have been dead meat if a stranger hadn't yanked him out of the hole by his collar. That stranger? None other than Edwin Booth, one of the most celebrated actors of the 19th century and brother of eventual Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth.

Lincoln immediately recognized the famous thespian "“ this was sort of like if George Clooney pulled you from a burning car today "“ and thanked him effusively. The actor had no idea whose life he had saved until he received a letter commending him for his bravery in saving the President's son a few months later.

3. He Had a Strange Knack for Being Near Assassinations

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Lee's surrender wasn't the only history Lincoln ended up witnessing, although things got a bit grislier for him after Appomattox. As he arrived back in Washington in April 1865 Lincoln's parents invited him to go see Our American Cousin at Ford's Theater with them. The young officer was so exhausted after his journey that he begged off so he could get a good night's sleep. That night, of course, John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln's father, and Robert Todd was with the celebrated president when he passed away the next morning.

By 1881, Lincoln's political lineage and prominence as a lawyer qualified him for a national office, and he became Secretary of War under the newly inaugurated James A. Garfield. That July, Lincoln was scheduled to travel to Elberon, New Jersey, by train with the President, but the trip never took off. Before Lincoln and Garfield's train could leave the station, Charles Guiteau shot the Garfield, who died of complications from the wound two months later.

Oddly, that wasn't all for Lincoln, though. Two decades passed without a presidential assassination, but Lincoln's strange luck reared its head again in 1901. Lincoln traveled to Buffalo at the invitation of President William McKinley to attend the Pan-American Exposition. Although he arrived a bit late to the even, Lincoln was on his way to meet McKinley when anarchist Leon Czolgosz shot the president twice at close range.

Following these three bits of bad luck Lincoln refused to attend any presidential functions. He dryly noted that there was "a certain fatality about the presidential function when I am present."

4. He Realized His Mom Was a Little Nutty

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Mary Todd Lincoln is fairly widely renowned today for being mentally ill, but it wasn't quite such an open secret when she was still alive. Robert, however, realized that his mother needed psychiatric help so she didn't become a danger to herself or an embarrassment to her family, so he had her involuntarily committed to a mental hospital in 1875 following a hearing that declared her insane.

Mary Todd was none too pleased about this plan. She not only snuck letters to her lawyer to help her escape from the institution, she also wrote newspaper editors in an effort to convince the public of her sanity. Mary Todd's ploy worked; at a second sanity hearing in 1876 she was declared sane and released from the Batavia, Illinois, sanatorium to which she'd been confined. However, by this point she'd been publicly humiliated and never really patched up her relationship with Robert before her death in 1882.

5. He Made Some Serious Dough on the Railroads

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Once he got his legal practice up and running, Lincoln found a particularly lucrative clientele in the booming railroad industry. He spent most of his career working as a corporate lawyer for various railroads and train-related companies; the only breaks were his four-year stint as Secretary of War under Garfield and successor Chester A. Arthur and a four-year hitch as a minister to Britain under President Benjamin Harrison.

One of Lincoln's major clients was the Pullman Palace Car Company, for which he served as general counsel. When founder George Pullman died in 1897, Lincoln became president of the company, and in 1911 he became chairman of the Pullman Company's board. His lofty position in one of the country's most lucrative companies made him a millionaire and enabled Lincoln to build a sprawling estate, Hildene, in Manchester, Vermont.

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16 404 Pages That Are Worth the Error
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plinko.net

The poem above is old, but the sentiment is universal. I first saw the verse at Plinko's error page, but the original author is nowhere to be found, although the verse owes a lot to Edgar Allan Poe. Looking for something on the internet that leads to an error page is frustrating, but there's an art to alleviating the reader's pain. Only this, and nothing more. Some websites make their 404 page entertaining in itself, and a few make it a real treat. You might even be distracted from what you were trying to find in the first place!

The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) is all about movies, so it makes sense that their error page gives you a well-known quote about your situation. There are about a dozen quotes that rotate, with some exact quotes, and some that are altered for the occasion.

BedMap is a hotel finder. They also found a great movie quote to adapt for their error page.

The Association for Computing Machinery's error page talks to you in text. The message goes on way after what you see here, until you feel much sorrier for the poor web server than you feel for yourself.

The error page at the game Brain Chef does the same thing as ACM, but instead of becoming melancholy, it flirts with you! And it keeps on, trying to keep you from navigating elsewhere.

The 404 page at Everlasting Blort acknowledges that the server is just as confused as you are. The page contains a flashing .gif that may trigger reactions if you suffer from photosensitive epilepsy. Those who visit Blort often already know that disorientation is what you go there for in the first place.

NPR's error page looks pretty normal for National Public Radio, but it cleverly contains a list of other things besides your missing destination link that cannot be found. After Amelia Earhart and the erased Watergate tape, they list Jimmy Hoffa, your luggage, Atlantis, and Waldo. Each item links to an article about the subject.

Homestar Runner blames you for the error. Which is just as well- I blame them for not adding anything new for years. Still, if you haven't seen all the cartoons, they are there for your enjoyment. But the other error messages they've used over the years were memorable as well.

Lesson learned: don't ever cram a Swiss cake roll into your disc drive.

This Russian business site 404 page is liable to make you forget what you were looking for, even if you don't understand a word of Russian (or Romanian -thanks, !). Let's all dance! This animation is found at more than one Russian site, so it's probably a feature of the hosting service. Warning: the song might be in your head all day.

Blue Fountain Media would like to develop websites and apps for you, but if you reach their error page instead, they offer on online version of Pac-Man for you to play. That makes everything all better, doesn't it?

Titlest golf equipment knows when you've lost a link, and they'll pitch in to help you look for it. In the rough. They've found a lot of golf balls there, after all.

Joel Veitch composed a song and video for Rathergood's 404 page. As you might guess, it's sung by a kitten.

Oh dear, you've got a 404
This isn't what you came here for
Oh dear, you've got a 404, there's nothing here to see
Oh dear, you've got a 404
This isn't what you came here for
Now that you're here, let's have a 404 party!

It's just as silly as anything you could possibly be looking for in his archives.

Woodland Farmers Market sells fresh produce in Washington state. They are also Star Wars fans and punsters.

Mashable did not find the page you're looking for. But they found your socks, so that's a plus, huh? Hey wait, who's wearing my socks? Oh, that's okay, they've got a hole in them anyway.

Bluegg is a company that designs websites. They also designed a sweet 404 page that says,

Ahhhhhhhhhhh! This page doesn't exist
Not to worry. You can either head back to our homepage, or sit there and listen to a goat scream like a human.

I listened to that goat scream quite a few times while preparing this item.

The Rolling Stones website gives you a video on their error page. A very appropriate video.

To be honest, these error pages came from a list that I've been keeping for seven years now. I just added to the list as I found great 404 pages, but I hadn't stopped to check how long the list was until recently. Over the years, many great error pages were lost because the website went out of business. Others just don't seem that creative anymore. Some error pages were changed or gutted due to copyright violations. To save time, I had kept a few posts that were lists of great error pages. Now I find that those posts no longer exist, and the links redirect to boring, everyday error pages. If you know of a wonderful error page everyone should see, please tell us about it!

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