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Obit: actor Jack Elam - RIP (1920-2003)

23 Oct 03 - 09:41 AM (#1040348)
Subject: Obit: Jack Elam - RIP
From: Fiolar

Sadly another of the old-timers has passed on. Jack Elam who appeared in so many Westerns has died some weeks short of his 87th birthday. Although never a leading man, his performances on screen were something to be treasured by movie fans. Who can forget the great scene with the fly in 1968 movie "Once Upon a Time in the West"? He was one of the most memorable individuals in films mainly because of his craggy face and will be remembered when many will be forgotten. Farewell Jack, you were one of mny favourites.

23 Oct 03 - 09:51 AM (#1040355)
Subject: RE: Obit: Jack Elam - RIP
From: Roger the Skiffler

My favourite Western actor, (I remember him in some old tv series as well, where he wore some unfortunate striped trousers)with his wall eye and craggy features he really looked the part, unlike some of the pretty boys like Alan (where's my box to stand on ) Ladd.

("Get off your horse and drink your milk")

23 Oct 03 - 09:53 AM (#1040356)
Subject: RE: Obit: Jack Elam - RIP
From: Greycap

Oh, No. Loved him.
Happy Trails, Ol' Jack

23 Oct 03 - 10:02 AM (#1040365)
Subject: RE: Obit: Jack Elam - RIP
From: VIN

Sad news. He had one of those great baddy faces wondefully portrayed, as you say, in Once Upon a Time.

(Reckon Henry Fonda also proved in that film what a great baddie he could portray - great music too!)

23 Oct 03 - 10:52 AM (#1040410)
Subject: RE: Obit: Jack Elam - RIP
From: DonMeixner

He was also a very funny man. As the bogus gunslinger "Swifty" in "Support Your Local Gunslinger" Jack Elam proved to be the equal to James Garner in the comedy side of things. The wandering eye of his was at onetime in his carreer a frigtening device. It took a skilled actor to turn into a humorous effect in the next movie he played.

Character actors of Jack Elam's quality don't come around everyday and they are often invisable until they are missed.


23 Oct 03 - 11:13 AM (#1040423)
Subject: RE: Obit: Jack Elam - RIP
From: Mark Clark

Yeah, not only a wonderful actor but, as has been said, as fascenating face to watch. I'd much rather see a film with interesting faces like that than perfect faces with no sense of reality. Clint Eastwood's film Unforgiven was largely about interesting faces and I always enjoyed watching Joe Seneca's face on screen.

Thanks, Jack and so long.

      - Mark

23 Oct 03 - 01:21 PM (#1040502)
Subject: RE: Obit: Jack Elam - RIP
From: Tam the Bam (Nutter)

so sad that he's gone.

He's was a great actor.

Thanks Jack.


23 Oct 03 - 02:54 PM (#1040551)
Subject: RE: Obit: Jack Elam - RIP
From: Eric the Viking

Don't add to many of these threads, but Jack Elam was one of my all time favourites. "Swifty" stays in my mind, and I really enjoy that film.(Support your local gunfighter)He did many films without the recognition he deserved.

23 Oct 03 - 03:21 PM (#1040575)
Subject: RE: Obit: Jack Elam - RIP
From: Cluin

One of my longtime favourites. Memorable in scenes from:

Support Your Local Sheriff: "Well I was kind of in a hurry to save your life. I wasn't trying to group my shots!"

Support Your Local Gunfighter: "I'm a peaceable kinda fella... `nless'n I'm riled..." (Stand back! Don't rile `im, boys!)

Rio Lobo: "If you hear a loud noise, it'll be Mister Ketchum dyin'..."

Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again: "Well, I'm mighty flattered, ma'am. But I'm a married man."

Plus other memorable scenes from Pocketful of Miracles, Hannie Caulder (a shitty Racquel Welch movie saved by the black humour of the three outlaw brothers: Mr. Elam, Strother Martin and Ernest Borgnine... well, not really saved, but they were worth watching), and in Peckinpah's cult classic Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid.

I saw an interview with Jack Elam about the latter movie once. In it he tells a story of how, early on in the filming, he met this scrawny, scruffy little "kid" on the hot dusty set, sitting in the shade of a trailer. He felt sorry for the kid and told him he could go get out of the heat in his own trailer and get a drink and cool off. The kid said thanks for the gesture, but he was fine. At that point, Kris Kristofferson came over and pointed out the biggest trailer on the lot and told him that was the "kid's" rig. The "kid" of course, was Bob Dylan.
Jack wasn't really a folk music fan. Gotta luv him anyways.

23 Oct 03 - 06:01 PM (#1040644)
Subject: RE: Obit: Jack Elam - RIP
From: katlaughing

This is sad. We were just talking about him the other day after seeing him in one of the many Gunsmoke episodes in which he acted.

There's a neat write-up of him, with some great quotes from a 1993 interview, on this page.

Happy Trails, Jack, and thanks,


23 Oct 03 - 07:18 PM (#1040691)
Subject: RE: Obit: Jack Elam - RIP
From: kendall

Remember THE DAKOTAS? he was a sheriff of all things!

23 Oct 03 - 07:32 PM (#1040710)
Subject: RE: Obit: Jack Elam - RIP
From: catspaw49

If Jack was in it, I watched it......or at least I tried. I'm sure I missed a few somehow, but watching any movie with Jack Elam in it was always a treat. From badass to buffoon, he was the greatest. he had great skills as an actor such as listening.....notice that his lines always played directly off the other person's line. And for whatever reason he was a master at the "unspoken." Jack Elam is in that category of actors that are a "type."   You need a Jack Elam type as you do a Christopher Walken type, a Willem Dafoe type, a Dennis Hopper type. Sadly, and especially in Jack's case, there is often only the original.

It's fun once in awhile to believe there is a heaven where you meet again and if there is, Jack is being welcomed by old friends saying, "Thought you'd never get here man....We needed a Jack Elam type!"


23 Oct 03 - 08:56 PM (#1040743)
Subject: RE: Obit: Jack Elam - RIP
From: Seamus Kennedy

He was part of John Wayne's "repertory company."
Had a lot of parts in Duke movies.
Also during the '60s when all those great Westerns were being pumped out by Warner Bros., he had a recurring role in most of them.
He played a town drunk/derelict called Toothy Thompson, so if Cheyenne, Bronco, Sugarfoot, or any of the Mavericks were in trouble, Ol' Toothy would sober up long enough to help them.
James Best was in a lot of those Westerns too. Remember him?
Another good 'un gone.


23 Oct 03 - 10:36 PM (#1040784)
Subject: RE: Obit: Jack Elam - RIP
From: Stilly River Sage

Great as a cowboy, but equally good as an urban gangster in Pocketful of Miracles (wasn't he the governor of Uuuu-Tah because he didn't want to be a "secetary?")


24 Oct 03 - 01:37 AM (#1040832)
Subject: RE: Obit: Jack Elam - RIP
From: DonMeixner

Well we don't make that many great westerns anymore. They just sort of drifted away some how. Who are the great western actors now?
Robert Duval is just a great actor so I guess I have to count him. But I think it takes a character actor like the late Jack Elam to do westerns right.

Sam Elliot, Tom Selleck, Wilford Brimley, Tom Berenger, RG Armstrong,
Keith Caradine, Clint Eastwood are names that come to mind now. Who else is there?


24 Oct 03 - 04:10 AM (#1040870)
Subject: RE: Obit: Jack Elam - RIP
From: Roger the Skiffler

Dakotas!!!Thanks, Cap'n, THAT was the series I was thinking of where he was a "shoot first and ask questions after" kind of lawman. Was he a Sheriff, a Marshall or a Texas Ranger? (I'm never sure of the distinctions).


24 Oct 03 - 01:41 PM (#1041167)
Subject: RE: Obit: Jack Elam - RIP
From: GUEST,Tunesmith

Jack was one of those actors who started with bit parts and eventually became a "star", and, of course, it was in The Dakotas that Jack wore those " unfortunate striped trousers" - as one person has called them. Well, for my part, I thought those trousers were terrific!

24 Oct 03 - 02:23 PM (#1041181)
Subject: RE: Obit: Jack Elam - RIP
From: Mrs.Duck

Always the bridesmaid never the bride but in more westerns than most actors have hot dinners. Great guy hope that means we'll have a season of his roles on TV.

25 Oct 03 - 07:49 AM (#1041549)
Subject: RE: Obit: Jack Elam - RIP
From: Fortunato

Yes, yes, Jack Elam was tremendous character actor and though I seldom remember the movie's name, I always remember, like Buddy Ebsen, Andy Devine, and Arthur C. Hunnicut his face and his name.

25 Oct 03 - 12:39 PM (#1041649)
Subject: RE: Obit: Jack Elam - RIP
From: GUEST,Bernie

Thanks for the reminder of all his great roles .....he was hilarious in "Support your local sherrif"...great scene in a saloon,when a dynamite blast rocks the place and everyone else is running or ducking to save their lives,Jack looks up at the ceiling and slaps his hand over his beer glass to keep the plaster dust from ruining his drink....he was a master of the "great lines"........wonder if he didn't improvise some of of his best was in "Have gun,will travel".....Paladin presents his business card to scruffy old Jack,then asks"YOUR card,sir?.Jack replies "card?...I aint GOT a card" ,then,whipping out his pistol and placing it under Paladin's nose and rolling his dead eye,or maybe it was his good one,says "but I got THIS!!!...he was a classic......

20 Apr 24 - 06:36 PM (#4201301)
Subject: RE: Obit: Jack Elam - RIP
From: GUEST,Cathy.

Jack never was a leading actor in his movies but he outshined many of those that were as far as I’m concerned. Farewell Jack… you’re awesome.

21 Apr 24 - 05:58 PM (#4201363)
Subject: RE: Obit: actor Jack Elam - RIP (1920-2003)
From: robomatic

I'm aware that this thread might have been resurrected accidentally but I have to mention that in the great classic Western "High Noon", Sherriff Gary Cooper, aware that the odds on his survival don't look good, lets the last drunk out of jail. And it is skinny young Jack Elam coming off his hangover, asking if the saloon is open yet. "Go home" says Gary.

22 Apr 24 - 12:33 PM (#4201400)
Subject: RE: Obit: actor Jack Elam - RIP (1920-2003)
From: Mrrzy

Another one I thought long gone! Wow! Loved his work!

Distant cousin on my kids' side of the family...