Making a list of the great films in which he appeared would be pointless. It would go on too long and you know them all anyway.
He was a small, mousy little fellow with pinched features beneath a high forehead, wide, watery eyes, a mouth that could not smile and a voice pitched slightly too high. He was factory-made to play nebbishes, henpecked husbands, elevator operators, front desk clerks, twitchy sidekicks, newsboys, the unjustly accused, informers, and the doomed would-be tough. Even as he aged, he was like a puny kid who always wanted to be bigger so he could show all those other kids. He was the Eternal Small-Timer. In short, he was Everyman, and a character actor’s character actor.
A COLLECTION OF FILM NOIR BAD GUYS: William Conrad, Charles McGraw, Dan Duryea, Raymond Burr, Elisha Cook Jr., Lee Van Cleef, Neville Brand, Jack Elam, Jack Lambert, Thomas Gomez, Charles Bronson, Ted de Corsia, Marc Lawrence and Timothy Carey. Most of them, with the exceptions of Lambert, de Corsia, Lawrence and Carey, graduated to good guy roles.
Born Today, December 26, in 1903, Character Actor Elisha Cook Jr…
“Keep on riding me and they’re gonna be picking iron out of your liver.” - Elisha Cook Jr as Wilmer Cook in The Maltese Falcon
Over 215 film and television roles; lots of villains and neurotics; The Maltese Falcon, Shane, The Big Sleep, House on Haunted Hill, Born to Kill, The Killing, Rosemary’s Baby…
Elisha Cook, Jr. and Marie Windsor in The Killing (Stanley Kubrick, 1956)
“You want me to call you Papa, isn’t that it, George? And you want to call me Mama. I can do that. Of course, it might be the last word you ever say, but I’ll try to kill you as painlessly as possible.”