John Cassavetes was a Greek-American actor, film director and screenwriter. Cassavetes was a pioneer of American independent film, by writing and directing over a dozen movies, which he partially self-financed, and pioneered the use of improvisation and a realistic cinema verite style. He also acted in many Hollywood films, notably Rosemary's Baby (1968) and The Dirty Dozen (1967). The New Yorker wrote that Cassavetes "may be the most influential American director of the last half century”. The Independent Spirit Awards named one of their categories after Cassavetes, the Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award.