While attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, John Savage helped organize a children's theatre troupe, giving non-profit performances at various housing projects. When next heard from, Savage had won a Drama Circle award for his starring performance in a Chicago-New York revival of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. In films and television from 1972, Savage reached a watershed in 1975, starring as cub reporter Jim Malloy in the TV series Gibbsville and both starring in and composing the music for the theatrical feature Sister-in-Law. His career continued to flourish as the 1970s drew to a close: he played paraplegic war veteran Steven in the Oscar-winning The Deer Hunter (1978), hippie convert Claude in Hair, guilt-ridden police officer Karl Hettinger in The Onion Field (1979) and the suicidal, physically challenged Roary in Inside Moves (1980). For reasons unknown, Savage's star began fading in the 1980s, despite such choice roles as a cynical photojournalist in Oliver Stone's Salvador (1986). Most of John Savage's footage as Andrew Hagen in 1990's The Godfather III unfortunately wound up on the cutting room floor.