Jack Elam

Actor, Accountant, Theater manager
Lean, eminently reliable veteran Hollywood player whose crookedly menacing face with its roving, sightless left eye helped him carve a niche as a villain in numerous Westerns and crime dramas since the 1950s, and later ... Read more »
Born: 11/12/1918 in Miami, Arizona, USA


Actor (104)

Big Guns Talk: The Story of the Western 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)


Bonanza: The Return 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)


Home Improvement 1991 - 1992 (Tv Show)


Shadow Force 1992 (Movie)

Tommy (Actor)

The Giant of Thunder Mountain 1992 (Movie)

Hezekiah Crow (Actor)

Uninvited 1992 (Movie)

Grady (Actor)

Suburban Commando 1991 (Movie)

Colonel Dustin "Dusty" McHowell (Actor)

Big Bad John 1990 (Movie)


Hawken's Breed 1989 (Movie)

Tackett (Actor)

Easy Street 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)


Louis L'Amour's Down the Long Hills 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)


The Aurora Encounter 1986 (Movie)

Charlie Hawkins (Actor)

Detective in the House 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)


Cannonball Run II 1984 (Movie)

Doc (Actor)

Sawyer and Finn 1982 - 1983 (TV Show)


Skyward Christmas 1981 - 1982 (TV Show)


Eight Is Enough 1976 - 1981 (TV Show)


Jinxed! 1981 (Movie)

Jack (Actor)

Legends of the West: Truth and Tall Tales 1980 - 1981 (TV Show)


The Cannonball Run 1981 (Movie)

Doctor (Actor)

Struck By Lightning 1979 - 1980 (TV Show)


How the West Was Won 1976 - 1979 (TV Show)


Louis L'Amour's The Sacketts 1978 - 1979 (TV Show)


The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again 1979 (Movie)

Big Mac (Actor)

The Villain 1979 (Movie)

Avery Simpson (Actor)

Black Beauty 1977 - 1978 (TV Show)


Grayeagle 1978 (Movie)

Trapper Willis (Actor)

Hot Lead and Cold Feet 1978 (Movie)

Rattlesnake (Actor)

The Ransom of Red Chief 1977 - 1978 (TV Show)


Phyllis 1975 - 1977 (TV Show)


The Norseman 1977 (Movie)

Dath Dreamer (Actor)

Hawmps 1976 (Movie)

Bad Jack Cutter (Actor)

Huckleberry Finn 1974 - 1975 (TV Show)


Pony Express Rider 1975 (Movie)


The Creature From Black Lake 1975 (Movie)


The Texas Wheelers 1974 - 1975 (TV Show)


The Winds of Autumn 1975 (Movie)


Sidekicks 1973 - 1974 (TV Show)


A Knife For the Ladies 1973 (Movie)


The Red Pony 1972 - 1973 (TV Show)


Cat Ballou 1971 - 1972 (TV Show)


Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid 1972 (Movie)

Alamosa Bill (Actor)

Hannie Caulder 1971 (Movie)

Frank Clemens (Actor)

Plimpton! Showdown at Rio Lobo 1970 - 1971 (TV Show)


Support Your Local Gunfighter 1971 (Movie)

Jug May (Actor)

Dirty Dingus Magee 1970 (Movie)


Last Rebel 1970 (Movie)

Matt Graves (Actor)

Rio Lobo 1970 (Movie)

Phillips (Actor)

Once Upon a Time in the West 1969 (Movie)

Knuckles (Actor)

Support Your Local Sheriff 1969 (Movie)

Jake (Actor)

The Wild Country 1969 (Movie)

Thompson (Actor)

Firecreek 1968 (Movie)

Norman (Actor)

The Last Challenge 1967 (Movie)

Ernest Scarnes (Actor)

The Way West 1966 (Movie)

Weatherby (Actor)

The Night of the Grizzly 1965 (Movie)

Hank (Actor)

The Rare Breed 1965 (Movie)

Deke Simons (Actor)

The Dakotas 1962 - 1963 (TV Show)


A Man Called Ragan 1961 - 1962 (TV Show)


Four For Texas 1962 (Movie)

Dobie (Actor)

A Pocketful of Miracles 1961 (Movie)

Cheesecake (Actor)

The Comancheros 1961 (Movie)

Horseface (Actor)

The Last Sunset 1961 (Movie)

Ed Hobbs (Actor)

Bronco 1958 - 1960 (TV Show)


Edge of Eternity 1958 (Movie)

Bill Ward (Actor)

The Gun Runners 1958 (Movie)

Arnold (Actor)

Baby Face Nelson 1957 (Movie)

Fatso (Actor)

Gunfight at the O.K. Corral 1957 (Movie)

Tom McLowery (Actor)

Night Passage 1957 (Movie)

Shotgun (Actor)

Jubal 1956 (Movie)

McCoy (Actor)

Pardners 1956 (Movie)

Pete (Actor)

Artists and Models 1955 (Movie)

Ivan (Actor)

Kismet 1955 (Movie)

Hassan-Ben (Actor)

Kiss Me Deadly 1955 (Movie)

Charlie Max (Actor)

Man Without a Star 1955 (Movie)

Drifter (Actor)

Moonfleet 1955 (Movie)

Damen (Actor)

The Far Country 1955 (Movie)

Newberry (Actor)

The Man From Laramie 1955 (Movie)

Chris Boldt (Actor)

Wichita 1955 (Movie)

Al (Actor)

Cattle Queen of Montana 1954 (Movie)

Yost (Actor)

Princess of the Nile 1954 (Movie)

Basra (Actor)

Vera Cruz 1954 (Movie)

Tex (Actor)

Appointment in Honduras 1953 (Movie)

Castro (Actor)

Count the Hours 1953 (Movie)

Max Verne (Actor)

Ride Clear of Diablo 1953 (Movie)

Tim (Actor)

Ride, Vaquero 1953 (Movie)


High Noon 1952 (Movie)

Charlie (Actor)

High Noon 1952 (Movie)

Charlie (Actor)

Rancho Notorious 1952 (Movie)

Geary (Actor)

Bonanza: Under Attack (TV Show)


Cheyenne (TV Show)


Gunsmoke (TV Show)


Once Upon a Texas Train (TV Show)


Ride a Northbound Horse (TV Show)


Shootout in a One-Dog Town (TV Show)


Sugarfoot (TV Show)


The Over-the-Hill Gang (TV Show)


The Revenge of Red Chief (TV Show)



Lean, eminently reliable veteran Hollywood player whose crookedly menacing face with its roving, sightless left eye helped him carve a niche as a villain in numerous Westerns and crime dramas since the 1950s, and later as a reliably comedic presence in his golden years. <p>The actor's trademark cockeye was the result of a childhood fight in Phoenix after a fellow Boy Scout stabbed him in the left eye with a pencil during a scrape at a troop meeting. After working as a theater manager, hotel manager and bookkeeper and accountant for film producers including Samuel Goldwyn, Elam was given his first acting job by producer George Templeton and made his debut in "Wild Weed" (1949). He helped raise financing for the film, "The Sundowners" (1950) in exchange for an sizable acting role in the film; later a tough-guy part in 1951's "Rawhide," starring Tyrone Power, helped make him a star. He soon became a familiar face, usually playing either a heavy or a cantankerous supporting player, such as dirty old men and harmless drunks with a wry bent in comedies like "Support Your Local Sheriff" and "The Cockeyed Cowboys of Calico County." His more than 80 feature films include memorable performances in "High Noon" (1952), "The Far Country" (1955), "Kiss Me Deadly" (1955), "Once Upon a Time in the West" (1969), "Rio Lobo" (1970), "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid" (1973), and "The Cannonball Run" (1980) and its 1982 sequel. <p>Elam appeared on over twenty episodes of "Gunsmoke" during the 1950s and 60s and was featured on the Western series, "The Dakotas" (1963), "Temple Houston" (1963-64) and "The Texas Wheelers" (1974-75), as well as several telepics based on Louis L'Amour novels and various 1990s revivals of the classic series "Bonanza." In later years he starred in such short-lived fare as the Frankenstein-inspired sit-com "Struck by Lightning" (1979), the p.i. series "Detective in the House" (1985) and the comedy "Easy Street" (1986-87) opposite Loni Anderson.


Margaret Elam

second wife married in 1961


Santa Monica Junior College

Santa Monica , California

Modesto Junior College

Modesto , California



Had a memorable part in the television western "Bonanza"


Co-starred in the comedy series "Easy Street"


Cast in the comedy feature "The Cannon Ball Run"


Potrayed the character Big Mack in "The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again"


Featured in the television mini-series "How The West Was Won"


Cast in the feature "Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid"


TV movie debut, "The Over-the-Hill-Gang"


TV series debut, "The Dakotas"


Film acting debut in "Wild Weed"


Worked as bookkeeper for Samuel Goldwyn and controller for "Hopalong Cassidy" films (date approximate)


Became an accountant for Standard Oil; worked as accountant, controller, bookkeeper and independent auditor

Worked as manager of Hollywood Boulevard Theatre and a Bel Air hotel

Bonus Trivia


Elam was described by one film critic as "the roughest, meanest, dirtiest heavy ever to cast a shadow across a movie-lot cowtown."


Lost sight in left eye due to childhood fight.