ELISHA COOK, JR.
Elisha Cook, Jr. (1902-95) made a long and splendid career playing cowardly villains and neurotics, earning the nickname "Hollywood's lightest heavy." He started out in vaudeville, then became a Broadway actor, and in 1936 he settled in Hollywood. After playing a series of college-aged parts, he began a long stint playing weaklings or sadistic loser-hoods. Notable roles include Wilmer the weasely gunsel in THE MALTESE FALCON (1941), the doomed Confederate reb in SHANE (1953), and the lovesick, hen-pecked husband in THE KILLING (1956). In these and other roles, Cook's characters usually ended up being killed off (strangled, poisoned or shot); he was arguably Hollywood's most notable fall guy for many years. On TV, Cook played a private detective in a 1953 episode of the Adventures of Superman. Years later, he played lawyer Samuel T. Cogley on a "Star Trek" episode, and later had a long-term recurring role as Icepick on Magnum, P.I.