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Jack Palance.


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The first film I saw him in was PANIC IN THE STREETS, a story about bubonic plague coming into New Orleans (I think) by ship. His name was not Jack Palance at the time. When he made SHANE in 1954 or so, I think he still didn't use that name.


I once tried to write a screenplay on the life of Nicolo Paganini with Palance in mind to play the virtuoso violinist who had sold his soul to the devil in exchange for such hypnotic ability.

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I believe he was very believable in that role but would have also mentioned a film (The Silver Chalice?) where he was a gladiator emeritus, and would enter the Coliseum in a speeding chariot and kill a gladiator or two just for the love of sport. Or was it Barrabas with Anthony Quinn? Maybe Quinn was the guy that hacked the evil grimace from his face. Come to think of it, in Silver Chalice he wasn't a gladiator, he was an evil magician with Virginia Mayo as his sexy assistant, eh? Am I getting old?

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methink that a quick visit to the internet movie database is in order.


the silver chalice 1954

jack palance.......simon the magician

virginia mayo......Helen




barabbas........anthony quinn

torvald.........jack palance


seems the little grey cells are still working there jerry


obs attilla??? not according to my search.

anthony quinn has played him but not as far as i can find jack palance. mind you they may not be correct in their film listings.

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Jack Palance

AKA Vladimir Palahnuik


Born: 18-Feb-1919

Birthplace: Lattimer Mines, PA

Died: 10-Nov-2006

Location of death: Montecito, CA

Cause of death: Natural Causes



Gender: Male

Race or Ethnicity: White

Sexual orientation: Straight

Occupation: Actor


Nationality: United States

Executive summary: Performed one-handed push-ups


Military service: U.S. Army Air Force


Jack Palance was a handsome yet ferocious-looking actor who usually played savage thugs or tough-as-nails cops. His breathless, staccato style of speaking added to his intimidating presence. He appeared in about 90 movies, stealing scenes in supporting roles and carrying films in leading roles. American audiences knew him as "Joker" Jack Nicholson's doomed sidekick in Batman, as the cartoonish heavy in Stallone and Russell's Tango & Cash, and as the aging bad guy in the Gen-X western Young Guns. In City Slickers, he spoofed his tough image, leading Billy Crystal and Daniel Stern on a cattle drive.


Born Vladimir Palahnuik to Ukranian immigrants, he called himself Walter Jack Palance to keep from being teased. As a young man, he was a professional boxer, which explains his rippled nose. He served in the Army Air Force during World War II, and required facial reconstruction after the B-24 bomber he was flying crashed while patrolling the coast of California.


While he was a struggling actor, he worked as a short-order cook, soda jerk, and lifeguard. He understudied Marlon Brando in the original Broadway production of A Streetcar Named Desire, and Brando invited Palance to work out with him in the theater's basement. The actors were pounding a punching bag when Palance missed the bag and splattered Brando's nose. Brando was taken to a hospital for medical attention, while Palance took the stage in the lead, and his performance drew a contract offer from 20th Century Fox. Palance always maintained that making his own "big break" was an accident.


In his first film, Panic in the Streets (1950) with Richard Widmark, he played a killer infected with bubonic plague. In Shane with Alan Ladd, he played a cold-hearted gunfighter. In the classic Sudden Fear with Joan Crawford, he played her murderous husband. He starred in the '50s noir classic I Died A Thousand Times with Shelley Winters and Lon Chaney, Jr., and in the wild western The Professionals, he played "the bloodiest cutthroat in Mexico", alongside macho men Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin, Robert Ryan, and Woody Strode. He played Attila the Hun in Sign of the Pagan. And in a near-forgotten gem from 1955, The Big Knife with Ida Lupino, he played a movie star who wanted to leave Hollywood and make more highbrow, artistic films.


That was Palance, too. He often took work in Europe, where he could play roles unavailable to him in Hollywood, and work unfettered by his American movie-star image. In the spaghetti western Companeros, he played a sadistic one-handed pot-smoker. In 1959's Beyond All Limits, he played a shrimp fisherman, and delivered his lines in Spanish. He played Fidel Castro in Che!, and may have done his best work in Jean-Luc Godard's tragedy Contempt. He also excelled as the grizzled WWII hero in Attack with Eddie Albert and Lee Marvin. In Robert Aldrich's Ten Seconds to Hell, he played a former German soldier working in a bomb squad. In Baghdad Caf?, Palance played a creatively stifled painter in the middle of nowhere.


With his mean demeanor, he was the studio's first choice to play the Klingon Commander in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, but Palance had to decline, as the filming schedule conflicted with City Slickers. At the next year's Oscars ceremony, where he won the Best Supporting Actor statue for City Slickers, Palance performed several one-handed push-ups, just to show that he could. On TV, he joined the circus in The Greatest Show on Earth, played the detective Bronk, and hosted Ripley's Believe It or Not! for several years. He once fell asleep and began snoring in his square on The Hollywood Squares.


Palance lived his last years on his ranch in rural California, and also owned a farm in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. His daughter Brooke is married to Michael Wilding Jr., son of Elizabeth Taylor.



Father: (coal miner)

Wife: Virginia Baker (Greenpeace activist, m. 21-Apr-1949, div. 1966, three children)

Mistress: Mamie Van Doren (circa 1954)

Daughter: Holly Palance (actress, b. 5-Aug-1950)

Daughter: Brooke Palance (actress, b. 9-Feb-1952)

Son: Cody Palance (actor, b. Dec-1955, d. 15-Jul-1998 cancer)

Wife: Elaine Palance



University: University of North Carolina

University: BA Drama, Stanford University (1949)



Oscar for Best Supporting Actor 1992 for City Slickers

Golden Globe 1992 for City Slickers

Emmy 1957 for Playhouse 90 "Requiem for a Heavyweight"

Hollywood Walk of Fame 6608 Hollywood Blvd. (television)

Ukrainian Ancestry




Living with the Dead (28-Apr-2002)

Sarah, Plain and Tall: Winter's End (21-Nov-1999)

Buffalo Girls (30-Apr-1995)

The Swan Princess (18-Nov-1994) [VOICE]

City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold (10-Jun-1994)

Cops and Robbersons (15-Apr-1994)

Cyborg 2 (1993)

City Slickers (7-Jun-1991)

Solar Crisis (14-Jul-1990)

Tango & Cash (22-Dec-1989)

Batman (23-Jun-1989)

Outlaw of Gor (1989)

Young Guns (12-Aug-1988)

Gor (1988)

Bagdad Caf? (12-Nov-1987)

Alone in the Dark (12-Nov-1982)

Without Warning (26-Nov-1980)

Hawk the Slayer (1980)

Angels' Brigade (1979)

The Cop in Blue Jeans (1976)

Oklahoma Crude (3-Jul-1973)

Dracula (1973)

Chato's Land (7-Jun-1972)

The Horsemen (24-Jul-1971)

Monte Walsh (2-Oct-1970)

Compa?eros (17-Aug-1970)

The Mercenary (6-Mar-1970)

The Desperados (16-May-1969)

They Came to Rob Las Vegas (5-Feb-1969)

Torture Garden (1967)

The Professionals (2-Nov-1966)

Once a Thief (27-Jul-1965)

Contempt (29-Oct-1963)

Barabbas (10-Oct-1962)

Austerlitz (17-Jun-1960)

The Lonely Man (12-Aug-1957)

Attack (19-Sep-1956)

The Big Knife (8-Nov-1955)

The Silver Chalice (20-Dec-1954)

Man in the Attic (23-Dec-1953)

Flight to Tangier (21-Nov-1953)

Arrowhead (3-Aug-1953)

Second Chance (18-Jul-1953)

Shane (24-Apr-1953)

Sudden Fear (6-Aug-1952)

Halls of Montezuma (05-Jan-1951)

Panic in the Streets (12-Jun-1950)



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Mary, was that Wikipedia? I looked in the list of films for SIGN OF THE PAGAN, a title I vaguely remember and read in the text above the list. I missed it in the list if its there. Wanted to see what year it might have been.


I didn't know he was the one who broke Marlon Brando's nose, but had read that he understudied the Stanley Kowalski role with him.

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