Jack Palance (born Volodymyr Jack Palahniuk; February 18, 1919 - November 10, 2006) was an American actor. During half a century of film and television appearances, Palance was nominated for three Academy Awards, all as Best Actor in a Supporting Role, winning in 1991 for his role in City Slickers. Early life: Palance was born Volodymyr Palahniuk in the Lattimer Mines section of Hazle Township, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, to Anna (née Gramiak) and Ivan Palahniuk, an anthracite coal miner. Palance's parents were Ukrainian immigrants, his father a native of Ivane Zolote in southwestern Ukraine (modern Ternopil province) and his mother from the Lviv region. One of six children, he worked in coal mines during his youth before becoming a professional boxer in the late 1930s. Fighting under the name Jack Brazzo, Palance reportedly compiled a record of 15 consecutive victories with 12 knockouts before losing a close decision to future heavyweight contender Joe Baksi in a "Pier-6" brawl. Years later he recounted: "Then, I thought, you must be nuts to get your head beat in for $200". Palance's athletic ability ranged away from the squared circle, as well. He was an outstanding high school football player and this skill was recognized by Raymond Wolf, the Head Coach at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Palance began his career at Carolina as a fullback, but Coach Wolf and the staff felt that he was best-suited to play in the line and, after some consideration, Palance left the game for good. With the outbreak of World War II, Palance's athletic career ended and his military career began as a member of the United States Army Air Forces. Palance's rugged face, which took many beatings in the boxing ring, was said to have become disfigured while bailing out of a burning B-24 Liberator bomber during a training flight over southern Arizona (where Palance was a student pilot). His distinctive cheekbones and deep-set eyes were said to have been the result of reconstructive surgery. The story behind Palance's face was repeated numerous times (including in respected film reference works), but upon his death, several obituaries of Palance quoted him as saying that the entire story had been contrived: "Studio press agents make up anything they want to, and reporters go along with it. One flack created the legend that I had been blown up in an air crash during the war, and my face had to be put back together by way of plastic surgery. If it is a 'bionic face,' why didn't they do a better job of it?" Palance was honorably discharged from the Army Air Corps in 1944. After the war he attended Stanford University, leaving one credit shy of graduating to pursue a career in the theatre. (A bachelor of arts degree in Drama was conferred to him, honorary Class of '49, in '95) During his university years, to make ends meet he also worked as a short order cook, waiter, soda jerk, lifeguard at Jones Beach State Park, and photographer's model. Career: 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. Three years before Palance played the part, comic book artist Gene Colan based his interpretation of Dracula for the acclaimed series The Tomb of Dracula on Palance explaining, "He had that cadaverous look, a serpentine look on his face. I knew that Jack Palance would do the perfect Dracula." 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. Later, in 1966, he appeared in the movie Alice Through the Looking Glass directed by Alan Handley in which he played the Jabberwocky. In 1969, Palance recorded a country music album in Nashville, released on Warner Bros. Records. It featured Palance's self-penned song "The Meanest Guy That Ever Lived". The album was re-released on CD in 2003 by the Water label (Water 119). Palance starred in the television series Bronk between 1975 and 1976 for MGM Television. In 1982, Palance began hosting a television revival of Ripley's Believe It or Not!. The weekly series ran from 1982 to 1986 on the American ABC network. The series also starred three different co-hosts from season to season, including Palance's daughter Holly Palance, actress Catherine Shirriff and singer Marie Osmond. Ripley's Believe It or Not! was in rerun syndication on the Sci-fi Channel (UK) and Sci-fi Channel (US) during the 1990s. Palance's success on Ripley's Believe It or Not! resulted in a demand for his services. He made memorable appearances in Young Guns (1988), Tango & Cash (1989) and Tim Burton's Batman (1989), all of which served to reinvigorate his movie career. Palance would be involved in new projects each year right up to the start of the 21st century. He also performed on Roger Waters' first solo album release The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking in 1984. Palance, at the time chairman of the Hollywood Trident Foundation, walked out of a Russian Film Festival in Hollywood. After being introduced, Palance said, "I feel like I walked into the wrong room by mistake. I think that Russian film is interesting, but I have nothing to do with Russia or Russian film. My parents were born in Ukraine: I'm Ukrainian. I'm not Russian. So, excuse me, but I don't belong here. It's best if we leave." Palance was awarded the title of "People's Artist" by the President Vladimir Putin on that occasion; however, Palance refused the title. 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, Palance played Poppy. This would be his final performance. According to writer Mark Evanier, comic book creator Jack Kirby modeled his character Darkseid on the actor. Academy Award: Four decades after his film debut, Palance won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor on March 30, 1992, for his performance as cowboy Curly Washburn in the 1991 comedy City Slickers. Stepping onstage to accept the award, the intimidatingly fit 6' 4" (1.93 m) actor looked down at 5' 7" (1.70 m) Oscar host Billy Crystal (who was also his co-star in the movie), and joked - mimicking one of his lines from the film - "Billy Crystal... I crap bigger than him." He then dropped to the floor and demonstrated his ability, at age 73, to perform one-handed push-ups. Crystal turned this into a running gag. At first, he quipped, "I told Jack before the ceremony, 'Decaf, Jack, decaf'" then at various points in the broadcast he announced Palance had done the following: was backstage on the Stairmaster;, "...just bungee-jumped off the Hollywood sign";, rendezvoused with the Space Shuttle in orbit;, fathered all the children in a production number;, been named People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive;, had won the New York primary election., At the end of the broadcast, Crystal told everyone he would like to see them again, "But, I've just been informed Jack Palance will be hosting next year." Years later, Billy Crystal appeared on Inside the Actors Studio with James Lipton and fondly recalled that after the Oscar ceremony Palance approached him during the reception, "He stopped me and put his arms out and went, 'Billy Crystal, who thought it would be you?.' It was his really funny way of saying thank you to a little New York Jewy guy who got him the Oscars". In 1993, during the opening of the Oscars, a spoof of that Oscar highlight featured Palance appearing to drag in an enormous Academy Award statuette with Crystal again hosting, riding on the rear end of it. Death and legacy: On November 10, 2006, Palance died of natural causes at age 87 at his daughter Holly's home in Montecito in Santa Barbara County. His remains were cremated, his ashes retained by family and friends. Jack Palance lived for a number of years around Tehachapi, near Bakersfield, in southern California. Palance has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6608 Hollywood Boulevard. In 1992, he was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Personal life: Palance was married to his first wife, Virginia Baker, from 1949 to 1968, they had three children: Holly (born in 1950), an actress, Brooke (born in 1952) and Cody (1955-1998). On New Year's Day 2003, Palance's first wife Virginia Baker, (July 7, 1922 - January 1, 2003) was struck and killed by a car in Los Angeles. His daughter Brooke married Michael Wilding, son of Michael Wilding Sr. (1912-1979) and Elizabeth Taylor; they have three children. Cody Palance, an actor himself, appeared alongside his father in the film Young Guns. Cody would die from malignant melanoma at age 42 on July 16, 1998. Palance had hosted The Cody Palance Memorial Golf Classic to raise awareness and funds for a cancer center in Los Angeles. Aside from acting Cody was also a musician. In May 1987, Palance married his second wife, Elaine Rogers. Palance painted and sold landscape art, with a poem included on the back of each picture. He was also the author of The Forest of Love, a book of poems published in 1996 by Summerhouse Press. Palance acknowledged a lifelong attachment to his Pennsylvania heritage and visited there when able. Shortly before his death he placed his Butler Township, Pennsylvania, Holly-Brooke farm up for sale and his personal art collection up for auction. Filmography: Films: Year Film Notes 1950 Panic in the Streets Halls of Montezuma 1952 Sudden Fear Nominated - Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor 1953 Shane Man in the Attic Second Chance Arrowhead Flight to Tangier 1954 The Silver Chalice Sign of the Pagan 1955 The Big Knife I Died a Thousand Times 1956 Attack Playhouse 90: Requiem for a Heavyweight (TV) 1957 House of Numbers 1958 The Man Inside 1959 Flor De Mayo 1959 Ten Seconds to Hell 1960 Austerlitz The Barbarians 1961 Barabbas Warriors Five 1962 Night Train to Milan 1963 Contempt 1965 Once a Thief 1966 The Professionals 1966 Alice Through the Looking Glass 1967 Kill a Dragon 1967 Torture Garden 1968 The Mercenary as Curly 1969 Justine Legion of the Damned The Desperados as Parson Josiah Galt Che! as Fidel Castro 1970 Compañeros Monte Walsh 1971 Horsemen 1972 Chato's Land It Can Be Done Amigo 1973 Father Jackleg (Originally Tedeum) Oklahoma Crude Brothers Blue 1974 Craze 1975 The Great Adventure 1976 God's Gun Mister Scarface The Cop in Blue Jeans Black Cobra Woman 1977 Portrait of a Hitman Welcome To Blood City 1978 The One Man Jury 1979 Angels' Brigade Cocaine Cowboys lead role 1980 Hawk the Slayer (as Voltan) Without Warning 1987 Bagdad Café 1988 Gor Young Guns 1989 Batman Outlaw of Gor Tango & Cash 1990 Solar Crisis 1991 City Slickers Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture, Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture, Nominated - Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor 1993 Cyborg 2 1994 City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold The Swan Princess voice Cops and Robbersons 1997 Ebenezer (as Ebenezer Scrooge) 1999 Treasure Island (as Long John Silver) 2002 Talking to Heaven 2003 Between Hitler and Stalin narrator Television movies/mini-series: Year Title Role 1968 Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde 1973 Bram Stoker's Dracula Count Dracula 1974 The Godchild Rourke 1975 The Hatfields and the McCoys Devil Anse Hatfield 1979 The Last Ride of the Dalton Gang Will Smith 1980 The Ivory Ape Marc Kazarian The Golden Moment: An Olympic Love Story Whitey Robinson 1981 Evil Stalks This House Stokes 1992 Keep the Change Overstreet 1994 The Twilight Zone: Rod Serling's Lost Classics Dr. Jeremy Wheaton (segment "Where the Dead Are") 1995 Buffalo Girls Bartle Bone 1997 I'll Be Home for Christmas Bob Ebenezer Ebenezer Scrooge 1999 Sarah, Plain and Tall: Winter's End John Witting 2001 Living With the Dead Allan Van Praagh 2004 Back When We Were Grownups Paul 'Poppy' Davitch Television shows: Year Title Role Notes 1950 Lights Out Episode "The Man Who Couldn't Remember" 1952 Westinghouse Studio One Episode "The King in Yellow" Curtain Call Episode "Azaya" Westinghouse Studio One Episode "Little Man, Big World" The Gulf Playhouse Episode "Necktie Party" 1953 Danger Episode "Said the Spider to the Fly" The Web Episode "The Last Chance" Suspense Tom Walker Episode "The Kiss-Off" The Motorola TV Hour Scott Malone/Kurt Bauman Episode "Brandenburg Gate" Suspense Episode "Cagliostro and the Chess Player" 1955 What's My Line Himself Mystery guest 1956 Playhouse 90 Harlan "Mountain" McClintock "Requiem for a Heavyweight", Emmy Award for Best Single Performance by an Actor Zane Grey Theatre Dan Morgan Episode "The Lariat" 1957 Playhouse 90 Monroe Stahr "The Last Tycoon" Playhouse 90 Manolete "The Death of Manolete" 1963 The Greatest Show on Earth Circus manager Johnny Slate Series - top billing 1964 What's My Line Himself Mystery guest 1965 Convoy Harvey Bell Episode "The Many Colors of Courage" 1966 Run for Your Life Julian Hays Episode "I Am the Late Diana Hays" Alice Through the Looking Glass Jabberwock (Live Theatre) The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Louis Strago 2 episodes "The Concrete Overcoat Affair: Parts I and II" 1968 They Came to Rob Las Vegas 1971 Net Playhouse President Jackson "Trail of Tears" 1973 The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour Himself 1975 Bronk Det. Lt. Alex 'Bronk' Bronkov Series 1979 Buck Rogers in the 25th Century Kaleel Episode "Planet of the Slave Girls" Unknown Powers Presenter/Narrator 1981 Tales of the Haunted Stokes Episode "Evil Stalks This House" 1982-1986 Ripley's Believe It or Not! Himself - Host Series 2001 Night Visions Jake Jennings Episode "Bitter Harvest"

Source: Wikipedia

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