The first time I ever saw Palance was on the TV movie version of DRACULA. He made a great vampire, even if the rest of the production wasn't quite up to his talent. And he was one of the great screen villians in SHANE, a truly hissable character. I also enjoyed his work in BARABBAS, CITY SLICKERS and BATMAN. May he rest in peace.
Jack was a force of nature, a great guy and, worth mentioning, a medal winning WWII vet, wounded in combat. I like to think that the real Jack was something like his character in Out of Rosenheim (Bagdad Café).
I had a bad feeling his time was near when he sold off his possessions just a few months ago.
Little Known Fact: Aside from being a fine actor, he was also a singer. Just last week the RFD Network showed a '60s era appearance of his on a country western show promoting an country album he had recorded. Like Robert Mitchum, he was able to transform a wonderful speaking voice into a fine singing voice.
This is one of the deaths that has kind of hit me hard. I don't know why, Palance wasn't really an actor I sought out or would site on a "favorite Actor" list.
His passing made me think, I can't think of a performance of his where he was off. Like Boris Karloff, Vincent Price and other more iconic figures (and if Palance only ever did Shane, that would be enough to insure his Icon status), Palance didn't always make the best movies, but he was often the best thing in those weaker films, often elevating them into something more.
I'm going to have to do some box digging so I can revisit his fantastic performance in "Playhouse 90 : Requim For a Heavyweight".
Mr. Palance was the one bright spot in the MST3K "classic" Angel's Revenge - probably because he was the only one who could act. Poor Peter Lawford seemed drunk off his ass the entire way through that movie, but that may have been to blunt the pain. Jack, however, soldiered on, despite the movie being utterly idiotic. Rumor had it that he did the movie for scotch - which must have helped dull the pain once this stinker was done.
As the mob boss in Batman, he was great, easily holding his own against Jack Nicholson, also no slouch in the great villain department.
I also remember him as a Jim Jones-like character in Buck Rogers - he blew everyone else off the screen as the leader of an evil cult.
In any case, he lived a long life, and provided a great body of work for us to enjoy. I hope he RIP, because he deserves it.
He's awesome in City Slickers and that's the first thing I thought of when I heard about his passing. The next flick I thought of is Hawk The Slayer. Again, a great villain in a truly cool little gem of a movie.