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 Oscar-Winning Actor Jack Palance Dies at 87

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PostSubject: Oscar-Winning Actor Jack Palance Dies at 87   Mon Nov 13, 2006 10:57 am



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Jack Palance, the legendary character actor who received Oscar nominations for his villainous roles in Sudden Fear and Shane, and won an Oscar for his comedy role in City Slickers, died Friday of natural causes in California; he was 87. Notorious for playing heavies throughout his career, Palance did a 180-degree career turn at the age of 72 by playing (for laughs) the crusty, menacing trail boss Curly in the Billy Crystal comedy City Slickers. The role won him an Oscar and a place in Hollywood history books when, after accepting his Best Supporting Actor award, he dropped to the stage for a series of one-armed push-ups; the stunt became a running gag for show host Crystal that year. Born Volodymyr Palanyuk in Pennsylvania, Palance was the son of a coal miner, and embarked on a boxing career in the 1930s under the name Jack Brazzo. Enlisting in World War II, Palance suffered extensive facial damage when he was pulled from the burning wreckage of a B-24, and the resulting surgery left him with his distinctive facial features, chiseled and gaunt and, as would prove throughout his career, sometimes extremely menacing. After being discharged, Palance embarked on his acting career, starting on Broadway (where he studied Method acting and was understudy to Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire) and moving to films in 1950, making his screen debut as Walter Jack Palance in Panic in the Streets.

Just two years later, he received his first Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for Sudden Fear, in which he starred alongside Joan Crawford (as her diabolical husband) and Gloria Grahame (as his girlfriend and co-conspirator). The next year, he played the evil gunfighter Jack Wilson opposite Alan Ladd in the classic Western Shane; another Oscar nomination followed. Innumerable film and television roles followed, most often in Westerns, but he turned in yet another indelible performance in the Playhouse 90 production of Requiem for a Heavyweight (1957), which won him an Emmy Award. Palance worked non-stop through the '60s and '70s in a variety of films and TV shows (he co-hosted the show Ripley's Believe It Or Not with his daughter, Holly Palance), and began to enjoy a career renaissance of sorts in the late '80s with parts in Young Guns and Batman. After his success in City Slickers and City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold (in which he played Curly's twin brother), Palance made sporadic film and TV appearances, most recently in 2004's Back When We Were Grownups; he also painted extensively, mostly landscapes, each with a poem inscribed on the back. Palance was married to actress Virginia Baker from 1949-1966, with whom he had three children: daughters Holly and Brooke Palance, and son Cody Palance; he is also survived by his second wife, Elaine Rogers, whom he married in 1987. --Mark Englehart, IMDb staff


R.I.P. Curly. Crying or Very sad

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