Jack Elam

William Scott "Jack" Elam (November 13, 1920 – October 20, 2003) was an American film actor best known for his numerous roles as villains in Western films and, later in his career, comedies (sometimes spoofing his villainous image). Elam was born in Miami, Arizona, to Millard Elam and Alice Amelia Kirby. Kirby died in 1924, when young Jack was not quite four years old. By 1930, he was once again living with his father, older sister Mildred, and their stepmother, Flossie (Varney). He grew up picking cotton. He lost the sight in his left eye during a boyhood accident when he was stabbed with a pencil at a Boy Scout meeting. He was a student of both Miami High School in Gila County and Phoenix Union High School in Maricopa County and graduated from the latter in the late 1930s. He attended Santa Monica Junior College in California and subsequently became an accountant in Hollywood; one of his clients was movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn. At one time, he was the manager of the Bel Air Hotel in Los Angeles. In 1949, Elam made his debut in She Shoulda Said No!, an exploitation film where a chorus girl's marijuana smoking ruins her career and drives her brother to suicide.


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