The most important thing is to be whatever you are, without shame
Few people played a villain as well as Rod Steiger. Starting out as a TV actor, Steiger first made a big impression appearing opposite Marlon Brando in On The Waterfront. However, it was for his performance as a bigoted cop opposite Sidney Poitier in the thriller In The Heat of the Night that he won perhaps the most acclaim as well as an Academy Award.
In his time, he also gave full blooded performances as the dictators Napoleon – in Waterloo – and the title role in The Last Days of Mussolini. He also played a villain in Doctor Zhivago and took the lead in Al Capone.
New Jersey-born Steiger married five times and was open about his struggles with severe depression, a condition which affected the last 20 years of his formidable acting career.
Looking back upon it towards the end of his life, he considered how memories are the greatest thing an actor can bestow upon their audience.
“When somebody says to me 'I'll never forget',” he added, “that's worth more to me than five Academy Awards. I'm in that person's life.”