Oscar Actors: Palance, Jack

Appearing in many Westerns and melodramas, the rugged-faced, gravelly voiced Jack Palance made more than 125 films over almost half a century, as well as 3 TV series.  He is most closely associated with two roles: that of the villain in the classic Western "Shane," made in 1953, and a comic variant on that role in "City Slickers," which won him an Oscar Award in 1991 for supporting actor.

The acceptance of his Oscar made for one of the more eccentric Oscar moments in recent history when the then-72-year-old actor fell to the ground and did a series of one-armed push-ups. Host Billy Crystal turned it into a running joke throughout that show.  Palance had won Oscar nominations 40 years earlier for "Shane" and "Sudden Fear" as the homicidal husband of Joan Crawford.  (see below).

In 1956 he won an Emmy for creating the role of a down-and out boxer in Rod Serling's "Requiem for a Heavyweight." He was passed over for the film version of the teleplay, which went to Anthony Quinn, whom Palance had understudied in "A Streetcar Named Desire" at the start of his career.

The Oscar nomination for "Sudden Fear" in 1952, and another for "Shane" a year later, established him as a bad guy, which he continued in many less distinguished films such as "Arrowhead," "Man in the Attic," "Sign of the Pagan," "The Silver Chalice" and a tepid remake of "High Sierra" called "I Died a Thousand Times."

Among his better roles were assignments for hard-edged director Robert Aldrich including Clifford Odets "The Big Knife" and the war dramas "Attack" and "Ten Seconds to Hell."

Equally impressive was his Emmy award-winning role in "Requiem" on television, and a starring role in a TV version of F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Last Tycoon."

"City Slickers" made Palance a star all over again and he reprised his role in its sequel, playing the brother of the character he'd played in the original.

Palance's last role was in 2004 in the TV movie "Back When We Were Grownups."  He died in 2006.

Oscar History:

1952: Sudden Fear (Supporting Actor); the winner was Anthony Quinn for Viva Zapata!

1953: Shane (Supporting Actor); the winner was Frank Sinatra for "From Here to Eternity."

1991: City Slickers (Supporting Actor)