Elisha Cook, Jr. Biography (1906-1995)
Born December 26, 1906 (one source says 1903), in San Francisco, CA; died ata nursing home, May 18, 1995, in Big Pine, CA. Character actor. Cook was well-known for his 1941 role as Wilmer, the deranged killer-for-hire, in The Maltese Falcon, and has been credited with contributing to that film's classic status. Born in California, Cook's childhood was spent in Chicago, Illinois. Helater traveled with a repertory company as a stage actor then landed a leadpart in Ah, Wilderness on Broadway before moving to Hollywood. As a characteractor Cook primarily played villains-- stool pigeons, pimps, junkies, gunslingers, and psychotics. "Few actors could claim to have played as many memorable roles in as many recognized classics or to have become the answer to so many Hollywood trivia questions," mused Robert McG. Thomas, Jr., in a New YorkTimes obituary. Cook played a supporting role in films starring Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre, Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe, and Jack Palance; in fact, Cook's successes created something of a legend among actors in Hollywood who noted that Cook's presence in a film often presaged cinematic superstardom for the leading actors. Other films include The Big Sleep in 1946, Shane in 1953,Rosemary's Baby in 1968, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid in 1973, and NationalLampoon Goes to the Movies in 1981.
- Birth Details
- December 26, 1906
- San Francisco, California, United States
- Death Details
- May 18, 1995
- Big Pine, California, United States
- International Motion Picture Almanac, Quigley, 1994.
- Chicago Tribune, May 28, 1995, sec. 2, p. 6.
- New York Times, May 21, 1995, p. 44.
- Times (London), May 22, 1995, p. 21.