Cassavetes was born in New York City, New York on December 9, 1929. He studied at Blair Academy and at Colgate University. Cassavetes spent his childhood in Long Island, New York. He was married to Gena Rowlands from 1954 until his death in 1989. They had 3 children. Cassavetes died on February 3, 1989 from cirrhosis in Los Angeles, California, aged 59.
- Ray Carney, Cassavetes on Cassavetes, Macmillan, 2001: p. 503.