Happy Birthday To Peekskill’s Abel Ferrara

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Abel Ferrara, turns 63 on Saturday.
Abel Ferrara, turns 63 on Saturday.

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. -- Happy Birthday to Peekskill’s Abel Ferrara!

Abel Ferrara, who grew up in Peekskill, turns 63 on Saturday.

Ferrara, a film screenwriter and director, was born July 19, 1951, in The Bronx, New York City. Ferrara first drew a cult audience with his grindhouse movie The Driller Killer (1979). It was an urban slasher in the mold of Taxi Driver (1976) about an artist (played by Ferrara himself under the alias Jimmy Laine) who goes on a killing spree with a drill in hand.

Next Ferrara was hired to direct Fear City (1984), starring Tom Berenger, Melanie Griffith, Billy Dee Williams, Rae Dawn Chong and María Conchita Alonso.

Following his television work, Ferrara directed several feature films: China Girl (1987), a modern retelling of West Side Story as a gang war between the Chinese tong and the Italian Mafia; the made-for-television vigilante action thriller The Gladiator (1987) with Nancy Allen; and Cat Chaser (1989), starring Peter Weller.

Then Ferrara created one of his most well-known films, King of New York (1990), starring Christopher Walken as gangster Frank White, who runs a group of black drug dealers, including one played by Laurence Fishburne.

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