Frank Mazzola, longtime film editor and actor and technical consultant for the James Dean classic “Rebel Without a Cause,” died Jan. 13. He was 79.
The Hollywood native began his career as a child actor, with parts in films including “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” “Always in My Heart,” “Casablanca” and “The Boy with the Green Hair.” After an extra role in Elia Kazan’s “East of Eden,” Mazzola worked in the most high-profile film of his career, “Rebel Without a Cause.”
In addition to playing the character of Crunch, Mazzola provided technical assistance on the film, advising director Nicholas Ray on creating the reality of rebellious teens from middle class families. He aided in the choosing of the film’s 1949 Mercury 8 Coupe as well as the red jacket worn by Dean in the film, and even helped stage the knife duel between Dean and Corey Allen.
Mazzola transitioned into a career as a film editor, working throughout the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, on films including “Macho Callahan,” “Stiletto,” “Performance,” “The Hired Hand” and “The Second Coming of Suzanne.” In 1999, Mazzola completed work on a director’s cut of “Wild Side,” from the late director Donald Cammell, who died in 1996.
He is survived by four daughters and three grandchildren. Services will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, January 31 at Blessed Sacrament church in Hollywood.