Friday, November 22, 2019

The Late Great Michael J. Pollard

Michael J. Pollard, who guest starred on such shows as The Andy Griffith Show and Star Trek, and received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Bonnie and Clyde, died yesterday, November 21 2019, at the age of 80. The cause was cardiac arrest.

Michael J. Pollard was born on May 30 1939 in Passaic, New Jersey. He attend Montclair Academy in New Jersey. He decided to become an actor after seeing Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront (1954). He studied acting at the Actors Studio in New York City.

Mr. Pollard made his television debut in an episode of Omnibus in 1958. In the late Fifties he guest starred on such shows as The DuPont Show of the Month, Lux Playhouse, Five Fingers, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Startime, Sunday Showcase, World Wide '60, and Look Up and Live. When Bob Denver, who played Maynard G. Krebs on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, received his draft notice, Michael J. Pollard was cast as his cousin Jerome Krebs. He would only replace Bob Denver for two episodes, as Mr. Denver was determined to be physically unfit for service. Mr. Pollard made his debut on Broadway in Comes a Day in 1958. In the late Fifties he also appeared on Broadway in A Loss of Roses. On Broadway he was part of the original cast of Bye Bye Birdie, playing the role of Hugo Peabody. Michael J. Pollard made his film debut in It Happened to Jane in 1959.

In the Sixties Michael J. Pollard made notable guest appearances on both The Andy Griffith Show and Star Trek. On The Andy Griffith Show he played Barney Fife's accident prone cousin Virgil in the episode "Cousin Virgil." On Star Trek he played Jahn, the self-appointed leader of a cult of children in the episode "Miri." He also guest starred on the shows Window on Main Street, Going My Way, The Nurses, Route 66, The Lucy Show, Channing, Gunsmoke, The Baileys of Balboa, Mr. Novak, Honey West, Branded, Lost in Space, The Virginian, I Spy, The Girl from U.N.C.L.E., The Danny Thomas Hour, and Cimarron Strip. He played Bonnie and Clyde's dimwitted accomplice C. W. Moss in Bonnie and Clyde (1967), for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role He also appeared in the films Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man (1962), The Stripper (1963), Summer Magic (1963), The Russians Are Coming the Russians Are Coming (1966), The Wild Angels (1966), Enter Laughing (1967), Caprice (1967), Jigsaw (1968), Hannibal Brooks (1969), and Little Fauss and Big Halsy (1970). He appeared on Broadway in Bye Bye Birdie, Enter Laughing, and Leda Had a Little Swan.

In the Seventies Mr. Pollard guest starred on Movin' On and Get Christie Love!. He appeared in the films Les pétroleuses (1971), Morbo (1972), Dirty Little Billy (1972), Sunday in the Country (1974), I quattro dell'Apocalisse (1975), Between the Lines (1977), and Melvin and Howard (1980).

In the Eighties Michael J. Pollard was a regular on the sitcom Leo & Liz in Beverly Hills. He guest starred on The Fall Guy, George Burns Comedy Week, Simon & Simon, Crime Story, Stuck with Each Other, Superboy, The Young Riders, and Working Tra$h. He appeared in the films Heated Vengeance (1985), The American Way (1986), The Patriot (1986), America (1986), Roxanne (1987), Scrooged (1988), Season of Fear (1989), Fast Food (1989), Night Visitor (1989), Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland (1989), Next of Kin (1989), Heartstopper (1989), Tango & Cash (1989), Why Me? (1990), Dark Angel (1990), Enid is Sleeping (1990), and Dick Tracy (1990).

In the Nineties Michael J. Pollard was the voice of Psycho on the animated series Toxic Crusaders. He guest starred on Paradise; Eerie, Indiana; The Ray Bradbury Theatre; Blossom; Tales from the Crypt; Wings; L.A. Doctors; Becker; and Jack & Jill. He appeared in the mini-series The Odyssey. He appeared in the films The Arrival (1991), Joey Takes a Cab (1991), Another You (1991), The Art of Dying (1991), Motorama (1991), Split Second (1992), Arizona Dream (1993), Skeeter (1993), Mad Dog Time (1996), Stir (1997), Merchants of Venice (1998), The Unknown Cyclist (1998), Tumbleweeds (1999), The Debtors (1999), Forever Lulu (2000), Danny and Max (2000).

In the Naughts Mr. Pollard appeared in the films House of 1000 Corpses (2003) and Remembering Nigel (2009).  In the Teens he appeared in the films Sunburnt Angels (2011) and The Woods (2012).

Michael J. Pollard was an actor of extraordinary talent. Throughout his career he played a number of notable roles, and even when he was on screen briefly he left an impression. What is more, his roles could vary widely. As Jahn on the Star Trek episode "Miri" he was both mischievous and malicious. As C. W. in Bonnie and Clyde he was dim-witted, but utterly loyal to Bonnie and Clyde. He played a similar role in Little Fauss and Big Halsy, playing the Little Fauss of the title, a none-too-bright. mild mannered, aspiring motorcycle racer. While C.W. and Little Fauss might not be too bright, Michael J. Pollard was perfectly capable of playing geniuses. In Tango & Cash he played Owen, a skilled weapons engineer. In The American Way he played a genius named Tesla (not be confused with the real-life scientist of the same name). Over the years Michael J. Pollard played a wide variety of roles in a wide variety of films. The films in which Mr. Pollard appeared might not always have been the best, but he always was.

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