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Jack Elam – MovieActors.com

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Elam in SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SHERIFF.

About Jack Elam (1920 – 2003)

Jack Elam was born on November 13th, 1920 in Miami, Arizona, as William Scott Elam. His parents were Alice and Millard Elam. He had an older sister, Mildred. When Jack was two, his mother died. His father remarried, and he lived with his father, sister and loving step-mother, Flossie.

Jack graduated from Phoenix High School in 1938, and headed for California. He enrolled at Santa Monica Junior College, taking courses in accounting. He found work at B of A, as a bookkeeper, and then as an auditor for Standard Oil.

During World War 2, Jack served two years in the Navy, despite his blind eye.

After the war was over, Jack opened up his own accounting business, which led to his first movie in Hollywood. He did the books for many film business people, which led to Jack being the controller for an indie film company, William Boyd's Hopalong Cassidy Production Co.
In between his accounting work, Jack began to explore the thought of becoming an actor, dabbling in small part thespain work.

Due to his very successful accounting services, his good eye was getting over-strained, threatening to someday going blind. It was time to switch careers. So, when a director friend who was a client as well, was having trouble getting backers for his film, Jack offered to help him make connections, if the director would let him play the bad guy. His career was launched with The SUNDOWNERS; (1950).

Despite never having any training in acting, Jack Elam had 207 performances under his belt by the end of his career. His natural talent, and his unusual eye injury kept this character actor working in many projects, in both television and films.

Jack's immobile, blind left eye was caused by a fight at the age of twelve. It happened during a Boy Scout meeting when another boy took a pencil, threw it, and it jabbed his eyeball. This injury added much to his supporting actor characterizations of dastardly villains, with bad attitudes; who didn't get on well with others, especially in westerns and gangster films. Later, in his comedic characters, his eye was again a prop, becoming an asset to his thespain career.

In a 1982 interview with William R. Horner, for his article, BAD AT THE BIJOU, Jack explained his role as the villain during the first part of his career, contrasting it to the 1980 villains. "The heavy today is usually not my kind of guy. In the old days, Rory Calhoun was the hero because he was the hero and I was the heavy because I was the heavy - and nobody cared what my problem was. And I didn't either. I robbed the bank because I wanted the money. I've played all kinds of weirdos but I've never done the quiet, sick type. I never had a problem - other than the fact I was just bad."

Later, in his comedic characters in films and television roles, his eye was again a prop, becoming an asset to his thespian career, endearing himself to a new generation. One of his best supporting performances was in the film, SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SHERIFF. Other comedic roles that entertained his fans were his performances in THE CANNONBALL RUN, COCKEYED COWBOYS OF CALICO COUNTY,

Jack was known to be great at all forms of gambling. Also great at winning games played with people on sets.

Jack married Jean Hodgert on August 24th, 1939. This marriage was a loving one, and lasted until Jean died on January 24th, 1961. They had two daughters, Jeri and Jacqueline.

Seven months later, Jack married again, to Margaret Jennison on August 23rd, 1961. This marriage was a loving one as well, and lasted until Jack's death on October 20th, 2003. They had one child, Scott, who also became an actor, from 1999- 2002, before choosing to get into another career.

In 1983, Jack won a Golden Boot, honoring all the fine, performances that he did in the many westerns; both films, and television shows and tV movies.

Jack Elam was inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1994.

Jack Elam passed away on October 20, 2003 in Ashland, Oregon.

Jack Elam's notable movie credits include...

UNINVITED (1993)
SHADOW FORCE (1992)
SUBURBAN COMMANDO (1991)
BIG BAD JOHN (1990)
EASY STREET (TV SERIES 1986-1987)
LOUIS L'ARMOUR'S DOWN THE LONG HILLS (TV MOVIES)(1986)
CANNONBALL RUN II (1984)
SCROOGE'S ROCK 'N' ROLL CHRISTMAS (1984)
JINXED! (1982)
CANNONBALL RUN (1981)
THE GIRL, THE GOLD WATCH & DYNAMITE (1981)
THE APPLE DUMPLING GANG RIDES AGAIN (1979)
THE VILLAIN (1979)
HOT LEAD AND COLD FEET (1978)
BLACK BEAUTY (TV Mini-Series 1978)
GRAYEAGLE (1977)
THE NEW DAUGHTER OF JOSHUA CABE (1976)
PONY EXPRESS RIDER (1976)
THE WINDS OF AUTUMN (1976)
THE TEXAS WHEELERS (TV SERIES 1974-1975)
HUCKLEBERRY FINN (TV Movie)(1975)
SHOOTOUT IN A ONE-DOG TOWN (TV Movie)(1974)
THE RED PONY (TV MOVIE)(1973)
BONANZA (TV movie 1961 - 1970)
RIO LOBO (1970)
WALT DISNEY'S WONDERFUL WORLD OF COLOR (TV Series 1969, 1975)
OncE UPON A TIME in the West (1968)
GUNSMOKE (TV SERIES 1959-1972)
THE DAUGHTERS OF JOSHUA CABE (TV MOVIE)(1972)
CAT BALLOU (TV MOVIE)(1971)
SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL GUNFIGHTER (1971)
BONANZA (TV SERIES 1961-1970)
RIO LOBO (1970)
THE OVER-THE-HILL GANG (TV MOVIE) (1969)
ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (1968)
NEVER A DULL MOMENT (1968)
FIRECREEK (1968)
THE LAST CHALLENGE (1967)
THE WAY WEST (1967)
THE RARE BREED (1966)
TEMPLE HOUSTON (TV SERIES 1963-1964)
THE DAKOTAS (TV SERIES 1962-1963)
CHEYENNE (TV SERIES 1961-1962)
THE UNTOUCHABLES (TV SERIES 1960-1962)
HAVE GUN-WILL TRAVEL (TV SERIES 1959-1962)
LAWMAN (TV SERIES 1958-1962)
RAWHIDE (TV SERIES 1962)
BRONCO (TV SERIES 1958-1961)
POCKETFUL OF MIRACLES (1961)
THE LAST SUNSET (1961)
THE RIFLEMaN (TV SERIES 1958-1961)
SUGARFOOT (TV SERIES 1961)
THE TEXAN (TV SERIES 1958-1960)
ZANE GREY THEATER (TV SERIES 1957-1961)
THE GUN RUNNERS (1958)
M SQUAD (TV SERIES 1958)
THE RESTLESS GUN (TV SERIES 1957-1958)
ZORRO (TV SERIES 1958)
BABY FACE NELSON (1957)
NIGHT PASSAGE (1957)
GUNFIGHT AT THE O.K. CORRAL (1957)
DRAGOON WELLS MASSACRE (1957)
PARDNERS (1956)
FRONTIER (TV SERIES 1955)
TARZAN'S HIDDEN JUNGLE (1955)
THE LONE RANGER (TV SERIES 1954-1955)
PRINCESS of THE NILE (1954)
HIGH NOON (1952)

RAWHIDE (1951)
HIGH LONESOME (1950)
WILD WEED (1949)

MYSTERY RANGE (1947)


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Jack Elam in SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL GUNFIGHTER (1971).

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Jack Elam in M-Squad (1958 television series).

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Jack Elam in THE CANNONBALL RUN (1981).

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Elam in THE TEXAN (Television Series circa 1958).

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Jack Elam in SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL GUNFIGHTER (1971).