Elisha Cook Jr.

Biography: American actor Elisha Cook Jr. was the son of an influential theatrical actor/writer/producer who died early in the 20th Century. The younger Cook was in vaudeville and stock by the time he was fourteen-years old. In 1928, Cook enjoyed critical praise for his performance in the play Her Unborn Child, a performance he would repeat for his film debut in the 1930 film version of the play. The first ten years of Cook's Hollywood career found the slight, baby-faced actor playing innumerable college intellectuals and hapless freshmen (he's given plenty of screen time in 1936's Pigskin Parade). In 1940, Cook was cast as a man wrongly convicted of murder in Stranger on the Third Floor (1940), and so was launched the second phase of Cook's career as Helpless Victim. The actor's ability to play beyond this stereotype was first tapped by director John Huston, who cast Cook as Wilmer, the hair-trigger homicidal "gunsel" of Sidney Greenstreet in The Maltese Falcon (1941). So far down on theAmerican actor Elisha Cook Jr. was the son of an influential theatrical actor/writer/producer who died early in the 20th Century. The younger Cook was in vaudeville and stock by the time he was fourteen-years old. In 1928, Cook enjoyed critical praise for his performance in the play Her Unborn Child, a performance he would repeat for his film debut in the 1930 film version of the play. The first ten years of Cook's Hollywood career found the slight, baby-faced actor playing innumerable college intellectuals and hapless freshmen (he's given plenty of screen time in 1936's Pigskin Parade). In 1940, Cook was cast as a man wrongly convicted of murder in Stranger on the Third Floor (1940), and so was launched the second phase of Cook's career as Helpless Victim. The actor's ability to play beyond this stereotype was first tapped by director John Huston, who cast Cook as Wilmer, the hair-trigger homicidal "gunsel" of Sidney Greenstreet in The Maltese Falcon (1941). So far down on the Hollywood totem pole that he wasn't billed in the Falcon opening credits, Cook suddenly found his services much in demand. Sometimes he'd be shot full of holes (as in the closing gag of 1941's Hellzapoppin'), sometimes he'd fall victim to some other grisly demise (poison in The Big Sleep [1946]), and sometimes he'd be the squirrelly little guy who turned out to be the last-reel murderer (I Wake Up Screaming [1941]; The Falcon's Alibi [1946]). At no time, however, was Cook ever again required to play the antiseptic "nerd" characters that had been his lot in the 1930s. Seemingly born to play "film noir" characters, Cook had one of his best extended moments in Phantom Lady (1944), wherein he plays a set of drums with ever-increasing orgiastic fervor. Another career high point was his death scene in Shane (1953); Cook is shot down by hired gun Jack Palance and plummets to the ground like a dead rabbit. A near-hermit in real life who lived in a remote mountain home and had to receive his studio calls by courier, Cook nonetheless never wanted for work, even late in life. Fans of the 1980s series Magnum PI will remember Cook in a recurring role as a the snarling elderly mobster Ice Pick. Having appeared in so many "cult" films, Elisha Cook Jr. has always been one of the most eagerly sought out interview subjects by film historians. Expand

Elisha Cook Jr.'s Scores

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Title: Year: Credit: User score:
tbd Magnum, P.I.: Season 8 Oct 7, 1987 Ice Pick Hofstetler tbd
tbd Magnum, P.I.: Season 7 Oct 1, 1986 Ice Pick Hofstetler tbd
tbd Simon and Simon: Season 6 Sep 25, 1986 Bradley K. Bishop tbd
tbd The Twilight Zone (1985): Season 1 Sep 27, 1985 Weldon 9.0
tbd Magnum, P.I.: Season 6 Sep 26, 1985 Ice Pick Hofstetler tbd
tbd The A-Team: Season 4 Sep 24, 1985 Jim Beam tbd
tbd Magnum, P.I.: Season 5 Sep 27, 1984 Ice Pick Hofstetler tbd
tbd Magnum, P.I.: Season 4 Sep 29, 1983 Ice Pick Hofstetler tbd
tbd Magnum, P.I.: Season 3 Sep 30, 1982 Ice Pick Hofstetler tbd
tbd The Odd Couple: Season 5 Sep 12, 1974 Eliot Ness tbd
tbd Bonanza: Season 12 Sep 13, 1970 Marcus tbd
tbd Star Trek: Season 1 Sep 8, 1966 Cogley 8.1
tbd The Wild Wild West: Season 1 Sep 17, 1965 McCoy / McGreavy tbd
tbd Bonanza: Season 7 Sep 12, 1965 Walker tbd
tbd Gunsmoke: Season 10 Sep 26, 1964 Jocko tbd
tbd Rawhide: Season 7 Sep 25, 1964 Jim tbd
tbd The Real McCoys: Season 4 Oct 13, 1960 Harry tbd
tbd Gunsmoke: Season 5 Sep 5, 1959 Farmer tbd
tbd Rawhide: Season 1 Jan 9, 1959 Bain tbd
tbd The Bionic Woman (1976): Season 2 Jan 14, 1976 Inky tbd
tbd Batman (1966): Season 2 Jan 12, 1966 Isaacson tbd