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Jack Elam
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    (November 13, 1920-October 20, 2003)
    Born in Miami, Arizona
    Birth name was William Scott Elam
    Appeared in the films ‘The Sundowners’ (1950), ‘Rawhide’ (1951), ‘Rancho Notorious’ (1952), ‘The Cattle Queen of Montana’ (1954), ‘The Man from Laramie’ (1955), ‘Kiss Me Deadly’ (1955), ‘Kismet’ (1955), ‘Gunfight at the O.K. Corral’ (1957), ‘The Gunrunners’ (1958), ‘The Comancheros’ (1961), ‘4 for Texas’ (1963), ‘The Way West’ (1967), ‘Once Upon a Time in the West’ (1968), ‘Support Your Local Sheriff’ (1969), ‘Rio Lobo’ (1970), ‘Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid’ (1973), ‘Pony Express Rider’ (1976), ‘The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again’ (1979), ‘Cannonball Run’ (1981), ‘Cannonball Run II’ (1984), and ‘Suburban Commando’ (1991)
    Appeared in episodes of The Twilight Zone, Gunsmoke, and Bonanza
    He was an accountant who broke into the movies by offering to arrange financing for a director’s projects in return for being cast in the films.
    He was typecast as villains, largely because of his misaligned, unmoving left eye.
    He spent much of his time on set playing poker.
    In a ‘making of’ documentary about ‘Rio Lobo,’ David Huddleston used him to illustrate the five stages of a character actor’s career: ‘Who is Jack Elam?; ‘Get me Jack Elam’; ‘Get me a Jack Elam type’; ‘Get me a young Jack Elam’; and ‘Who is Jack Elam?’
    He lost the sight in his left eye after being struck by a pencil thrown by a fellow Boy Scout during a troop meeting.
    He served in the Navy during World War II.
    Late in his career, he often appeared in comedic parts that spoofed his villainous image.
    He was inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum (1994).

Credit: C. Fishel

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