Elisha Cook Jr. was born in San Francisco, California on December 26, 1903. His intense, bug-eyed portrayal of Wilmer, the psychotic, baby-faced killer in "The Maltese Falcon," made him a cult figure to a generation of moviegoers. He originally performed in vaudeville & stock starting at age 14. He made his Broadway debut in the 1926 musical comedy “Hello Lola”. Over the next decade, Cook appeared in a dozen more productions on The Great White Way, like: “Ah Wilderness!” (with George M. Cohan), “Her Unborn Child”, “Gertie”, “The Kingdom of God”, “Merry-Go-Round” and more.Cook made his film debut in 1930, reprising his Broadway role in “Her Unborn Child”. Hollywood's Lightest Heavy went on to play a slew of hoods, weaklings, convicts, informers, boozers, dopers, cuckolds, hotel clerks, elevator operators, waiters, cab drivers, landlords, petty criminals, coaches, cowards, old men and more. He’s probably best remembered by western fans as the cocky, quick-tempered ex-Confederate homesteader Frank ''Stonewell'' Torrey, goaded into a showdown by gleeful gunslinger Jack Palance, in the George Stevens 1953 western classic “Shane”.
Mr. Cook, who made more than 100 movies, once claimed that he had appeared in more "B-for-bomb turkeys" than any other actor. Maybe so, but 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.
He died at his home in Big Pine, California from a stroke on May 18, 1995. He was 92.
COOK, Elisha (aka Elisa Cook) (Elisha Van Slyck Cook Jr.) [12/26/1903, San Francisco, California, U.S.A. – 5/18/1995, Big Pine, California, U.S.A. (stroke)] – film, TV actor, singer, married to actress, singer Mary Lou Cook (Mary Dunckley) [1908-1944] (1928-1941), married to Elvira Ann (Peggy) McKenna [1921-1990] (1943-1968, 1971-1990).
El Condor – 1969 (old convict)