Scene Stealer Elam

Jack Elam (left) and John Wayne (right).

Jack Elam was one of the great character actors, often playing grizzled pioneers or gunmen in a wide variety of Westerns.  With his trademark bulging eyes (one of them was blind) and borderline crazy performances, Elam was a noted scene stealer.

It happened in the 1970 oater “Rio Lobo,” starring John Wayne.  The movie was generally panned—except for Elam’s acting.  That didn’t set well with the Duke, who had a long memory on such things.  When producers wanted to cast Elam in Wayne’s 1973 effort “The Train Robbers,” the Duke nixed the idea.

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Mark Boardman

Mark Boardman is the features editor for True West Magazine, a former managing editor for Western Shooting Horse Magazine and the chief purveyor of ScarletMask Enterprises.