Photo of Rod Steiger Rod Steiger

With more than 100 films to his credit, Rod Steiger made his first movie appearance in 1951 and never looked back, working constantly as both a lead and character actor until his death in 2002.

Born April 14, 1925, in Westhampton, N.Y., Steiger was raised in a home with an absentee father and an alcoholic mother -- an environment he fled at age 16 to join the Navy during World War II. After the war, he studied acting under the GI Bill at The Actor's Studio in New York, and by the late 1940s, he was appearing in live TV plays as well as on Broadway.

It was his performance opposite Marlon Brando in 1954's On the Waterfront, however, that would ignite his career and earn him his first Oscar nomination. He went on to win an Oscar for his portrayal of Sheriff Gillespie in 1967's In the Heat of the Night. Other important movies for Steiger include Oklahoma!, The Pawnbroker and Doctor Zhivago.

Rod Steiger in On the Waterfront

On the Waterfront

1954 NR

Winner of eight Oscars, director Elia Kazan's classic morality tale stars Marlon Brando as Terry Malloy, a has-been boxer who experiences a crisis of conscience while working for mobbed-up union boss Johnny Friendly (Lee J. Cobb). Terry turns a blind eye when Friendly's thugs kill a fellow dockworker to keep him from testifying in a corruption case, but he has second thoughts when the victim's sister (Eva Marie Saint) urges him to take a stand.

  • Rod Steiger in The Longest Day The Longest Day
  • Rod Steiger in Doctor Zhivago Doctor Zhivago
  • Rod Steiger in In the Heat of the Night In the Heat of the Night
  • Rod Steiger in Lion of the Desert Lion of the Desert
  • Rod Steiger in The Pawnbroker The Pawnbroker
  • Rod Steiger in The Specialist The Specialist
  • Rod Steiger in Jesus of Nazareth Jesus of Nazareth
  • Rod Steiger in The Big Knife The Big Knife
  • Rod Steiger in Jubal Jubal
  • Rod Steiger in The Loved One The Loved One
  • Rod Steiger in The Amityville Horror The Amityville Horror
  • Rod Steiger in Carpool Carpool
  • Rod Steiger in Poolhall Junkies Poolhall Junkies
  • Rod Steiger in No Way to Treat a Lady No Way to Treat a Lady
  • Rod Steiger in F.I.S.T. F.I.S.T.
  • Rod Steiger in The Chosen The Chosen
  • Rod Steiger in The Ballad of the Sad Café The Ballad of the Sad Café
  • Rod Steiger in Men of Respect Men of Respect
  • Rod Steiger in Shiloh Shiloh
  • Rod Steiger in End of Days End of Days
  • Rod Steiger in Shiloh 2: Shiloh Season Shiloh 2: Shiloh Season
  • Rod Steiger in The Hollywood Sign The Hollywood Sign
  • Rod Steiger in Imaginary Witness Imaginary Witness
  • Rod Steiger in Seven Thieves Seven Thieves
  • Rod Steiger in Innocents with Dirty Hands Innocents with Dirty Hands
  • Rod Steiger in The Golden Age of Television The Golden Age of Television
  • Rod Steiger in Across the Bridge Across the Bridge
  • Rod Steiger in Hands Over the City Hands Over the City
  • Rod Steiger in The Illustrated Man The Illustrated Man
  • Rod Steiger in Waterloo Waterloo
  • Rod Steiger in The Glory Boys The Glory Boys
  • Rod Steiger in Catch the Heat Catch the Heat
  • Rod Steiger in Guilty as Charged Guilty as Charged
  • Rod Steiger in The Critic: The Complete Series The Critic: The Complete Series
  • Rod Steiger in In Pursuit of Honor In Pursuit of Honor
  • Rod Steiger in Dalva Dalva
  • Rod Steiger in Off the Menu: The Last Days of Chasens Off the Menu: The Last Days of Chasens
  • Rod Steiger in Ray Bradbury: An American Icon Ray Bradbury: An American Icon
  • Rod Steiger in Modern Vampires Modern Vampires
  • Rod Steiger in Body and Soul Body and Soul
  • Rod Steiger in Cypress Edge Cypress Edge
  • Rod Steiger in The Final Hit The Final Hit
  • Rod Steiger in Breakout: Prisoner of War Escapes Breakout: Prisoner of War Escapes
  • Rod Steiger in The Real James Dean The Real James Dean
  • Rod Steiger in The Magic Mountain The Magic Mountain
  • Rod Steiger in James Dean: The Fast Lane James Dean: The Fast Lane