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1 item from 2003

Character Actor Jack Elam Dies

22 October 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Character actor Jack Elam, best known for his roles as the scene-stealing, wild-eyed villain in westerns such as Gunfight at the O.K. Corral and Once Upon a Time in the West, died Tuesday at his Ashland, OR, home of an unspecified illness; he was 84. Though most film biographies listed the actor as 86, longtime friend Al Hassan confirmed that Elam was actually 84, having lied about his age early in his career in order to qualify for work. A Hollywood accountant in the late 40s, Elam toiled away in bit parts until his tough-guy turn opposite Tyrone Power in 1951's Rawhide, which proved to be his breakout performance. Roles in High Noon, Rancho Notorious, Kiss Me Deadly and Gunfight at the O.K. Corral followed as he racked up innumerable credits in a variety of films. The late 60s saw the actor turn more towards comedy, parodying his longtime villain status in movies like Once Upon a Time in the West, Support Your Local Sheriff and Rio Lobo. Instantly recognizable by his immobile cockeye (the result of a scuffle as a 12 year-old), Elam worked mainly in television through the 80s and early 90s; in 1994, the actor was inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers in the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. --Prepared by IMDb staff »

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