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General information  

  • Real name : William Scott Elam
  • Place of birth : Miami
  • Date of birth : 13/11/1920
  • Place of death : Ashland
  • Date of death : 20/10/2003

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Alias  

  • Elam Jack

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Jack Elam (1920)

William Scott Elam

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  Summary  

William Scott "Jack" Elam (November 13, 1920 – October 20, 2003) was an American film actor best known for his numerous roles as villains in Western films and, later in his career, comedies .

  Biography  

 early life
Elam was born in Miami, Arizona, to Millard Elam and Alice Amelia Kirby. Kirby died in 1924, when young Jack was not quite four years old. By 1930, he was once again living with his father, older sister Mildred, and their stepmother, Flossie .

He grew up picking cotton. He lost the sight in his left eye during a boyhood accident when he was stabbed with a pencil at a Boy Scout meeting. He was a student of both Miami High School in Gila County and Phoenix Union High School in Maricopa County and graduated from the latter in the late 1930s.

He attended Santa Monica Junior College in California and subsequently became an accountant in Hollywood; one of his clients was movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn. At one time, he was the manager of the Bel Air Hotel in Los Angeles.

 acting career
In 1949, Elam made his debut in She Shoulda Said No!, an exploitation film where a chorus girl's marijuana smoking ruins her career and drives her brother to suicide. He appeared mostly in westerns and gangster films playing villains. In 1961, Elam played a slightly crazed character in an episode of The Twilight Zone, "Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?".

In 1963, he got a rare chance to play the good guy when he played the part of Deputy Marshal J.D. Smith in The Dakotas, a TV western that ran for only nineteen episodes. He played an eccentric sidekick to John Wayne in Howard Hawks's Rio Lobo . Elam was given his first comedic role in Support Your Local Sheriff!, after which he found his villainous assignments dwindling and his comic roles increasing.

In 1985 Elam played as Charlie in The Aurora Encounter. During this film Elam made a lifelong relationship with a 11 year old boy named Mickey Hays, who suffered from progeria. As shown in the documentary I Am Not A Freak viewers see how close Elam and Hays really were. Elam said, "You know I've met a lot of people, but I've never met anybody that got next to me like Mickey."

In 1994, Elam was inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.

Elam classified the stages of a moderately successful actor's life, as defined by the way a film director refers to the actor suggested for a part. This humorous quote has also been attributed to other actors, especially Ricardo Montalban and Mary Astor:

Stage 1: "Who is Jack Elam?"

Stage 2: "Get me Jack Elam."

Stage 3: "I want a Jack Elam type."

Stage 4: "I want a younger Jack Elam."

Stage 5: "Who is Jack Elam?"

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Jack Elam", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.