JACK PALANCE Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Jack Palance                                                                             
Birth name: Volodymyr Palahnyuk                                                               
Born: 18 February 1919 Hazle Township, Pennsylvania, United States                             
Died: 10 November 2006 Montecito, California, United States                                   
Jack Palance (February 18, 1919 – November 10, 2006) was an Academy Award-winning           
American film actor. With his rugged facial features, Palance was best known to               
modern movie audiences as both the characters of Curly and Duke in the two City               
Slickers movies, but his career spanned half a century of film and television                 
Palance, one of five children, was born Volodymyr Palahnyuk (Ukrainian:                       
Володимир Палагнюк) in the Lattimer Mines section of Hazle Township,         
Pennsylvania, the son of Anna (née Gramiak) and John Palahnyuk, an anthracite                 
coal miner. Palance's parents were Ukrainian immigrants, his father a                         
native of Ivane Zolote in Southwestern Ukraine and his mother from the Lviv                   
region. He worked in coal mines during his youth before becoming a boxer.                     
In the late 1930s, Palance started a professional boxing career. Fighting under               
the name Jack Brazzo, Palance reportedly compiled a record of 15 consecutive                   
victories with 12 knockouts before fighting the future heavyweight contender Joe               
Baksi in a "Pier-6" brawl. Palance lost a close decision, and recounted: "Then,               
I thought, you must be nuts to get your head beat in for $200".                               
With the outbreak of the Second World War, Palance's boxing 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 disfigured when he               
bailed out of his burning B-24 Liberator while on a training flight over                       
southern Arizona, where he was a student pilot. Plastic surgeons repaired the                 
damage as best they could, but he was left with a distinctive, somewhat gaunt,                 
look. After much reconstructive surgery, he was discharged in 1944.                           
Palance graduated from Stanford University in 1947 with an Bachelor of Arts                   
degree in Drama. 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.                                                                     
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.                                     
Palance earned his second Oscar nomination playing cold-blooded gunfighter Jack               
Wilson in 1953's cinema classic Shane                                                         
The following year, Palance was again nominated for an Oscar, this time for his               
role as the evil gunfighter Jack Wilson in Shane. Roger Waters' music album The               
Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking features sound bites from that movie. Jack Palance               
makes a cameo in the song "5.01 A.M. (The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking)", not                 
as Jack Wilson, but as a biker ("An angel on a Harley...") who says "How you                   
doing, bro? Where you been? Where you going?"                                                 
Several other Western roles followed, but he also played such varied roles as Dr.             
Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dracula and Attila the Hun.                                               
In 1957, Palance won an Emmy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Mountain               
McClintock in the Playhouse 90 production of Rod Serling's Requiem for a                       
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.                                                                               
While still busy making movies, in the 1980s Palance also released an album of                 
county-Western music for Warner Brothers Records. It was released in 1969 and                 
was recalled the Lee Hazlewood music that was popular at the time. Recorded in                 
Nashville with the usual studio cats, the album is a playful country-rock romp                 
not unlike other late 60's Nashville recordings and featured Palance's self                   
penned classic song 'The Meanest Guy That Ever Lived'. The album was re-released               
in 2003 by the Walter label in CD version.                                                     
He also hosted (with his daughter Holly Palance) the television series Ripley's               
Believe It or Not!.                                                                           
Appearances in Young Guns (1988) and Tim Burton's Batman (1989) reinvigorated                 
Palance's career, and demand for his services kept him involved in new projects               
each year right up to the turn of the century.                                                 
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, his                 
performance as Poppy being Palance's last.