Jack Palance  

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Jack Palance (February 18, 1919 - November 10, 2006) was an Academy Award-winning American film actor. With his rugged facial features and gravelly voice, Palance was best known to modern movie audiences as both the characters of Curly and Duke in the two City Slickers movies, but his career spanned half a century of film and television appearances.



Palance's acting break came as Marlon Brando's understudy in A Streetcar Named Desire, and he eventually replaced Brando on stage as Stanley Kowalski.

In 1947, Palance made his Broadway debut, and this was followed three years later by his screen debut in the movie Panic in the Streets (1950). The very same year, he was featured in Halls of Montezuma about the U.S. Marines in World War II, where he was credited as "Walter (Jack) Palance". Palance was quickly recognized for his skill as a character actor, receiving an Oscar nomination for only his third film role, as Lester Blaine in Sudden Fear.

The following year, Palance was again nominated for an Oscar, this time for his role as the hired gunfighter Jack Wilson in Shane. Several other Western roles followed, but he also played such varied roles as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dracula and Attila the Hun.

In 1957, Palance won an Emmy for best actor for his portrayal of Mountain McClintock in the Playhouse 90 production of Rod Serling's Requiem for a Heavyweight.

Jean-Luc Godard persuaded Palance to take on the role of Hollywood producer Jeremy Prokosch in the 1963 nouvelle vague movie Le Mépris, with Brigitte Bardot and Michel Piccoli. Although the main dialogue was in French, Palance spoke mostly English.

While still busy making movies, in the 1960s Palance also released an album of country-Western music for Warner Bros. Records. This happened in 1969 and it recalled the Lee Hazlewood music that was popular at the time. Recorded in Nashville with the usual studio cats, the album is a playful country rock romp not unlike other late 60's Nashville recordings and featured Palance's self penned classic song 'The Meanest Guy That Ever Lived'. The album was re-released in 2003 by the "Walter" label in CD version.

He also hosted (with his daughter Holly Palance) the television series Ripley's Believe It or Not!.

Appearances in Young Guns (1988) and Tim Burton's Batman (1989) reinvigorated Palance's career, and demand for his services kept him involved in new projects each year right up to the turn of the century.

In 2001, Palance returned to the recording studio as a special guest on friend Laurie Z's Heart of the Holidays album to narrate the famous classic poem The Night Before Christmas.

In 2002, he starred in the television movie Living with the Dead opposite Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen and Diane Ladd. In 2004, he starred in another television production, Back When We Were Grownups, opposite Blythe Danner, his performance as Poppy being Palance's last.

Selected filmography


Year Film Role Other notes
1950 Panic in the Streets Blackie
Halls of Montezuma Pigeon Lane
1952 Sudden Fear Lester Blaine
1953 Shane Jack Wilson
Man in the Attic Slade
Second Chance Cappy Gordon
1954 The Silver Chalice Simon Magus
1955 The Big Knife Charles Castle
1956 Attack Lieutenant Costa
Playhouse 90: Requiem for a Heavyweight (TV) Harlan 'Mountain' McClintock
1957 House of Numbers
1957 Flor De Mayo
1960 Austerlitz General Weirother
1961 Barabbas Torvald
1963 Contempt Jeremy Prokosch
1965 Once a Thief Walter Pedack
1966 The Professionals Jesus Raza
1968 Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Dr. Henry Jekyll and Mr. Edward Hyde
The Mercenary Curly
1969 Justine Antonin
Che! Fidel Castro
1970 Compañeros John
Monte Walsh Chet
1972 Chato's Land Captain Quincy
1973 Dracula Dracula
1976 God's Gun Ben Haenni
1979 Angels' Brigade Mike Farrell
1980 Hawk the Slayer Voltan
1987 Bagdad Café Rudi Cox
1988 Gor Xenos
Young Guns Lawrence G. Murphy
1989 Batman Carl Grissom
Outlaw of Gor Xenos
Tango & Cash Yves Perret
1990 Solar Crisis Travis
1991 City Slickers Curly Washburn
1993 Cyborg 2 Mercy
1994 City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold Duke Washburn
The Swan Princess Voice of
Lord Rothbart
Cops and Robbersons Jake Stone
1997 Ebenezer Ebenezer Scrooge
1999 Treasure Island Long John Silver

Television movies/mini-series

Year Television title
1968 The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde
1973 Dracula
1974 The Godchild
The Hatfields & The McCoys
1975 Bronk
1979 The Last Ride Of The Dalton Gang
The Ivory Ape
1980 The Golden Moment: An Olympic Love Story
1992 Keep The Change
1993 The Twilight Zone: Rod Serling's Lost Classics
1995 Buffalo Girls
1997 I'll Be Home For Christmas
1999 Sarah, Plain & Tall : Winters End
2001 Living With The Dead
2004 Back When We Were Grownups

Television shows

Year Television title
1950 Lights Out - The Man Who Couldn't Remember
1952 Studio 1 - The King In Yellow
Curtain Call - Azaya
Studio 1 - Little Man, Big World
The Gulf Playhouse - The Necktie Party
1953 Danger - Said The Spider To The Fly
The Web - Last Chance
Suspense - The Kiss Off
The Motorola Tv Hour - Brandenburg Gate
Suspense - Cagliostro & The Chess Player
1956 Playhouse 90 - Requiem For A Heavyweight
Zane Grey Theatre - The Lariat
1957 Playhouse 90 - The Last Tycoon
Playhouse 90 - The Death Of Manolete
1963 The Greatest Show on Earth (Top billing as circus manager Johnny Slate)
1965 Convoy - The Many Colours Of Courage
1966 Run For Your Life - The Late Diana Hayes
Alice Through The Looking Glass - (Live Theatre)
1971 Net Playhouse - Trail Of Tears
1973 The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour
1975 Bronk (Series)
1979 Buck Rogers In The 25th Century - The Planet Of The Slave Girls
Unknown Powers (Presenter/Narrator)
1981 Tales Of The Haunted - Evil Stalks This House
1982 Ripley's Believe It Or Not (Series)
2001 Night Visions - Bitter Harvest

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