Theodore's World: Jack Palance was a TRUE AMERICAN

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November 13, 2006

Jack Palance was a TRUE AMERICAN

Jack Palance aka Vladimir Ivanovich Palaniuk
February 18 1919 to November 10, 2006

Jack Palance came from a different ERA of the Hollywood star.

Jack Palance, the craggy-faced menace in “Shane,” “Sudden Fear” and other films who turned to comedy at 70 years old, with his Oscar-winning self-parody in ''City Slickers,'' died last Friday.

Born in Pennsylvania, of Ukrainian descent and son of a coal miner, Palaniuk worked in the coal mines until the 1930's when he started a career as a professional boxer.

Jack Palance was a professional heavyweight boxer in the early 1940s. Fighting under the name Jack Brazzo, Palance a product of Lattimer Mines, Pennsylvania, won his first 15 fights, 12 by knockout before losing a 4th round decision to future heavyweight contender Joe Baksi on Dec. 17, 1940.

With the outbreak of World War II, he headed the call to action. So Jack Palance's ended his boxing career and his military career began. He received the purple heart, good conduct medal, and the World War II Victory Medal. Jack joined the US Navy as a pilot. He was sent to the UK where he participated in bombing runs throughout the European theater. In 1943, his B-17 crashed in England on its way home from a mission. He received injuries when bailing of out a crashing plane and suffering burns over his face that required multiple plastic surgeries.

He was discharged from the US military in 1944.

He then went on with schooling and graduated from Stanford University in 1947 with a B.A. in Drama and pretty much instantly wound up on Broadway.

He spoke Ukrainian, Russian, Italian, Spanish, French and English.

When you compare today's "leading men" to people like Jack Palance, Robery Ryan, Steve McQueen, William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, Henry Fonda, Burt Lancaster (personal favorite),Gregory Peck, James Coburn, Richard Widmark (another personal favorite) and others of their era, the current crop are wussie-boys by comparison.

Cinemaphiles in the 22nd century will no doubt be puzzled by the drop off in testosterone and male star power and cinematic presence after the 1970's.

And there is this Memorable Oscar momement many will never forget about him as well.

When Jack Palance won the best supporting actor award in 1991 for his role in "City Slickers," he demonstrated his virility by performing one-armed pushups on stage.

My husband worked with Jack Palance years ago and I got to meet him. He was such a fine man, very easy to talk to and very kind.

Posted by Wild Thing at November 13, 2006 03:55 PM


Yes he was.

Have a God Blessed Week.


Posted by: patty at November 13, 2006 05:05 PM

From what I've read, he was also very serious about acting. Didn't he get an AW nomination for "The Big Knife" with Rod Steiger? I recall being dragged to see it by my mother, who was a Palance fan, but was much too young to like it.

Posted by: Rhod at November 13, 2006 06:15 PM

I saw him perform the one arm pushups live on the show. While he was doing them, he looked up at the audience and said,
"the only time you use two arms is when she's under you...". You could have heard a pin drop for a moment, then the audience let loose with a loud, laugh filled ovation.
Hell of a guy. He'll be missed.

Posted by: gregor at November 13, 2006 07:03 PM

Guys like him are a vanishin' breed in Hollywood. Now we get Tom Cruise types.

Posted by: raz0r at November 13, 2006 07:57 PM

I'll miss him, so long tough guy.

Posted by: Jack at November 13, 2006 08:13 PM

Thank you Patty. I looked at the link and it is so cute, that you so much.

Posted by: Wild Thing at November 13, 2006 08:54 PM

Rhod, you might be right about the AW nomination. He did love acting.

Posted by: Wild Thing at November 13, 2006 08:56 PM

Gregor........LMAO I love it. That was great.

Posted by: Wild Thing at November 13, 2006 08:57 PM

razOr yes Tom Crusie the nut case. augh!

Posted by: Wild Thing at November 13, 2006 08:58 PM

Jack, I wish we had more guys like him in today's films.

Posted by: Wild Thing at November 13, 2006 08:58 PM

A great American idol. He and Lee Marvin were two grand and unique men. I saw his one armed push-ups on Johnny Carson, and Palances push-ups evoked one of those classic Carson shocked expressions. Oh am I glad I lived in the era of those great Americans. I try not to belittle or squander what they have given us.

Posted by: TomR at November 13, 2006 10:01 PM

Guys like him are a vanishin' breed in Hollywood. Now we get Tom Cruise types.

Posted by: raz0r at November 13, 2006 07:57 PM
Sadly you are correct :( Jack, along with the likes of Yul Bynnner, James Stewart, Clark Gable, John Wayne and many many others are indeed a dying breed. In regards to Tom Cruise - that man could have done so much better if he didn't become involved with that truely weird Scientology cult. The only reason he gets away with it is because of his powerful financial status. At least with the older Hollywood generation they knew that with their fame also came social responsibilty. What they did in their private lives was mostly kept that way, and if it wasn't their careers were sunk literally overnight. Getting back to me he was the best damned villian on the screen! RIP Jack, you'll be truely missed.

Posted by: Lyn in Australia at November 14, 2006 03:01 AM

Tom yesss and Lee Marvin too. sigh

Posted by: Wild Thing at November 14, 2006 04:43 AM

Lyn he sure was, I agree, he was an awesome villian. And I agree with you too Lyn about Tom Cruise and his stupid religion cult he is into.

Posted by: Wild Thing at November 14, 2006 04:43 AM

Don't forget about Lee Van Cleef.

Posted by: gregor at November 14, 2006 07:20 AM

Dying breed is right. Recently, I read where testosterone levels have fallen in the U.S. this is ever so apparent in Hollywierd and now in congress.

Jimmy Stewart was always my favorite, when the war started he enlisted because he felt an obligation to serve his country (Imagine that) and he wanted to fly. After he was in, they wanted to use him to promote bonds, and raise the enlistment levels. He wanted no part of that, although, he did make a short film promoting the war effort, and afterward he was sent to England, where he flew a B-25 and I believe logged in 25 combat mission, Not an easy accomplishment, when the average completion rate was about 17, he even took part in the first 1000 plane raid over Germany.

Everyone has mentioned the Icons of the past and they are slowly all passing away, leaving us with the likes of Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin ( I still have his one way ticket outta here), George Clooney.

As Charleton Heston remarked about clooney, 'Class skips a generation', after Clooney said Heston deserved what he got. Todays actors wouldn't make a pimple on any of the butts of these great ONES.

Posted by: Mark at November 14, 2006 08:42 AM

Gregor oh yesss Lee Van Cleef! Thank you, he was terrific.

Posted by: Wild Thing at November 14, 2006 06:57 PM

Mark thank you so much and yess so true too.

Posted by: Wild Thing at November 14, 2006 06:58 PM