Monday, September 5, 2011

Jack Palance

Yes, he was this scary in person. I worked with Jack Palance in 1992 on the tv series "Legends of the West." He was intimidating. His height, his sharp cheekbones, his intense silence--all added to an aura of quiet menace. Yet when I gained the courage to speak with him I learned his silence was merely shyness. He told me about his fondness for watercolor painting, his love of poetry, his huge cattle ranch in Bakersfield. He shared his concerns over his son Cody who was battling drug addiction (Cody worked as a stuntman on the production.) He also told me about his ongoing battle with hemorrhoids and how he was apprehensive about riding a horse in the next few scenes. Palance's stark appearance was partly due to his time in the military. He was badly burned during WWII when a bomber he was piloting crashed.  The resulting plastic surgery gave his face a taut, leathery look. Jack Palance died in 2006 after losing his son Cody to melanoma in 1998. The attached woodcut shows the fierce Jack Palance, ala the gunslinger from "Shane." Behind the mask he was a great guy. He was also a hell of an actor. (4" x 6", black ink print)

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