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Lee J. Cobb (1911-1976)

Lee J. Cobb

The Colonel, December 16, 1974 Written by Arthur Dales, Directed by Bernard McEveety, Guest Cast: Lee J. Cobb, Julie Cobb, Daniel J. Travanti, Richard Ely, Todd Lookinland, Randolph Robert, Roy Jen

One of the most reliable, recognizable of all character actors he had a long and illustrious career in films. Tall, stocky and stocky with a strong, jutting jaw and long face he had an air of authority about him causing him to be cast in those type roles. He was born Leo Jacoby on December 8, 1911 on New York City's lower east side the son of the editor of a Jewish daily newspaper. As a child he was a prodigy on the violin and harmonica but an accident (a broken wrist) caused the end of his dream of a music career. At age 16 young Leo aspired to an acting career and ran away from home to Hollywood. He tried to break into films in the late 1920s but being unsuccessful returned to New York where he acted on radio and eventually the Broadway stage. Later in 1931 he returned to California and joined the famed Pasadena Playhouse. His theatrical career blossomed and he created the role of Miller's Willy Loman in "Death of a Salesman" on Broadway. In 1937 he finally made his film debut in "North of the Rio Grande" as Wooden. Among his other 75 plus films were: "Golden Boy" (1939) with William Holden, as Mr. Bonaparte; "Men of Boys Town" (1941) as Dave Morris; "Tonight We Raid Calais" (1943) as Bonnard; "Song of Bernadette" (1943) as Dr. Dozous; "Anna and the King of Siam" (1946) as Kralahome; "Captain From Castile" (1947) as Juan Garcia; "Miracle of the Bells" (1948) as Marcus Harris; "Luck of the Irish" (1948) as D.C. Augur; "Call Northside 777" (1948) as Brian Kelly; "On the Waterfront" (1954) as Johnny Friendly, for which he received an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor; "The Left Hand of God" (1955) in unusual casting, as Gen. Yang, a Chinese warlord; "Three Faces of Eve" (1957) as Dr. Luther; "Twelve Angry Men" (1957) as Juror #3, one of my favorite of his roles; "Green Mansions" (1959) as Nuflo; "Exodus" (1960) as Barak Ben Canaan; "Our Man Flint" (1965) as Cramden; "Mackenna's Gold" (1969) as The Editor; "The Exorcist" (1973) as Lt. William F. Kinderman, another of my favorite Cobb roles; "That Lucky Touch" (1975) as Lt. Gen. Harry Steedman and "Nick the Sting" (1976) as Robert Clark, his last film role. On TV he was nest known for his role as Judge Henry Garth on "The Virginian" (1962-66) and his regular role on "The Young Lawyers" (1970-71) as Attorney David Barrett. He starred in made for TV movies and guest starred on such series as: "Naked City"; "Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse" and "Zane Grey Theatre." He died on February 11, 1976 of a heart attack in Woodland Hills, California at age 64.

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