Benedict Steiger, the widow of actor Rod Steiger,
watched with others as her husband's character spoke
during his final film, "A Month of Sundays,"
on Saturday in Naples.
I know is, it's better to keep active than to sit
around waiting for death," spoke Charlie McCabe,
the character Steiger plays in his final film that
screened at the Pavilion Theatre as part of the
Marco Island Film Festival.
died unexpectedly in July of complications following
routine surgery. Benedict accepted the festival's
Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of her husband,
whose 50-year career included more than 150 films
and hundreds of television appearances.
hard," Benedict said of making appearances and
watching the film in which Steiger's character is
you know, people loved him so much."
Steiger's 50-year career included more than
150 films and hundreds of television appearances
a breezy afternoon under a tent at the Village at
Venetian Bay, Benedict accepted the cut-crystal award
commemorating her husband's career and thanked festival
coordinators and attendees for making her feel welcome
film's producer, Suzanne DeLaurentiis, was on hand
before the screening to introduce the film. "He
was one of the greatest," DeLaurentiis said,
"and we will all miss him dearly."
Month of Sundays," in which Steiger plays a dying
man haunted by the need to find his estranged son
and reconcile with him, was slated for wider exposure
at festivals but DeLaurentiis decided to scale back
temporarily after Steiger's death. Prior to the Marco
Island event, the film showed only at festivals in
New York, Palm Beach, and Atlantic City, N.J.
it was originally supposed to be a studio film, DeLaurentiis
grew weary of the long wait for production, and decided
to produce the picture independently. She credits
Steiger's interest with her ability to get the film
wasn't a concern to him," she said, and partly
due to his and other cast members' willingness to
work below their usual salaries, the film was made
for just over $1 million.
Marco festival had already accepted the film for the
festival program when coordinators decided they'd
also like to honor Steiger with the Lifetime Achievement
were looking for more than just a contribution to
the film industry, but also someone who was giving
back to the world," said Cindy Dobyns, festival
head of public relations.
fit the bill: having battled depression himself, the
actor was very active right up until his death with
publicizing and raising awareness of and support for
Steiger was honored in his lifetime with countless
tributes, including the Academy Award and its equivalents
in Italy, Germany, England, and Russia, he was delighted
to learn of the Marco award, Benedict said: "Rod
was always pleased that people remembered him and
the screening came a tribute to Steiger's career,
with clips from many of his most memorable films,
among them "On the Waterfront," "The
Pawnbroker," "Dr. Zhivago" and "In
the Heat of the Night"; a biographical slide
show; and candid snapshots of Steiger, his wife, and