Elisha Cook Jr., Happy Birthday! Born December 26th; 1903-1995



Elisha Cook Jr.



Leo DiCaprio from The Great Gatsby

An initial observation: it is remarkable how much DiCaprio looks like Elisha Cook Jr.! But those smooth good looks for Cook Jr. would soon fade into the wrinkled, gnarled features which we now associate with his particularly suited voice for evil and mania.

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Today, I am afforded the opportunity to write about one of the finest of the quirky supporting actors to ever grace the silver-screens of Hollywoodland, Elisha Cook Jr. In 1941 Cook gave us his portrayal of Wilmer Cook, the gunsel with the squirmy facial expressions, in the Maltese Falcon. This role by itself was enough to brand Elisha Cook Jr. forever in the memory of film, but he continued compiling to his list, unique, possessed, obsessive characters as in the following movies: Ball of Fire, 1941, The Big Sleep, 1946, The Great Gatsby, 1949 and Don’t Bother to Knock, 1952. Some have went as far as to say that Cook is the king of character actors, I will say that Cook Jr. is in the “Sweet Sixteen” of character actors.

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