Actor Had Roles In 'Rio Lobo,' 'Gunfight At O.K. Corral'
POSTED: 9:58 a.m. EDT October 22, 2003
UPDATED: 10:08 a.m. EDT October 22, 2003
Veteran character actor Jack Elam -- a favorite Western film villain who menaced the good guys with his crazy grin, menacing eyes and remorseless gunslinging -- has died.
A family friend said Elam died Monday afternoon at his home in Ashland, Ore., of an unspecified illness.
Elam played roles in more than 130 feature films and television movies, according to the Internet Movie Database. His Western movie roster included "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral," "Cat Ballou," "Support Your Local Gunfighter," "Support Your Local Sheriff," and "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid."
He also appeared opposite John Wayne in such Westerns as "The Comancheros" and "Rio Lobo."
Elam's television credits included "Gunsmoke," "The Wild, Wild West" and "Bonanza," and two "Bonanza" television movies. His last acting role was in the 1995 television movie "Bonanza: Under Attack."
Most biographies list the actor as 86 years old, but the friend said he was actually 84, having lied about his age as a youngster to get work.
The Internet Movie Database listed him as 86. The actor was born Nov. 16, 1916, in Miami, Ariz., according to the site.
Elam didn't always play the mean old hombre -- he also found himself cast as dirty old men and harmless drunks, sometimes with a humorous bent.
The actor's own cockeye was the result of a childhood fight in Phoenix. The way he told it, a fellow Boy Scout stabbed him in the left eye with a pencil during a scrape at a troop meeting.
He remained blind in that eye, which wandered lazily around its socket.
Elam is survived by his second wife, Jennie; a daughter and two sons.
Boy I remember him growing up!