Elisha Cook Jr. (1903-1995) represents the great Hollywood character actors – never out of work and never having the worries of a star. Maybe even being able to walk down Hollywood Boulevard in relative anonymity.

Elisha fought with Bogie, wed Marie Windsor, befriended Lawrence Tierney, was like a son to Sydney  Greenstreet and stood up to Jack Palance  in “Shane”.

Did he ever get to smile?  Yes, he did in “ Stranger on the Third floor”(1940), though he’s accused of murder.

He was mostly timid, quietly menacing , small time gangster, and always believable.


In Born To Kill”, he matter-of-factly  tells Lawrence Tierney,

“You can’t just go around killin’ people whenever the notion strikes you – it’s not feasible.”

In “The Maltese Falcon”, Sidney Greenstreet tells him:

“ Well  Wilmer, I’m sorry indeed to lose you. But I want you to know I  couldn’t be fonder of you if you were my own son.

But, well, if you lose a son, it’s possible to get another. There’s only one Maltese Falcon.”



With Bogart, The Maltese Falcon



As the drummer in “Phantom Lady”, reacting to the come-on from Ella Raines.


With Claire Trevor, Lawrence Tierney.BORN TO KILL


With Marie Windsor. THE KILLING.

Willing to take part in a robbery to keep his ever loving wife (played by Marie Windsor) in the style which she’d like to become accustomed.


As ‘Stonewall’ Torrey in SHANE.


Handsome young man.

Elisha was active in films and television till the 1980s.




5 responses »

  1. He was an integral part of some iconic cinema moments. His humiliation by Spade in The Maltese Falcon is by turns amusing and upsetting, and his demise in Shane is one of the great shockers, highlighting the brutality of Palance’s character and the fact that violence has real consequences and no glamour whatsoever.

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