Palance, Jack

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Jack Palance as Dracula.

Palance, Jack (1928–2006)

(pop culture)

Jack Palance, who played the title role in the made-for-television movie Dracula (1973) was born Vladimir Palahnuik on February 18, 1928, in Lattimer, Pennsylvania. In 1947 he made his Broadway debut and three years later appeared in his first Hollywood movie, Panic in the Streets. He became famous following his appearance in Shane. For his role as the villain, he won an Oscar nomination as best supporting actor, the second time he had received that honor.

Palance’s movie career was largely determined by his physical build (he had a brief career in professional boxing), his distinctive voice, and the plastic surgery he received following the crash of his airplane during World War II. He quickly emerged as a one of Hollywood’s great heavies. It limited his starring roles, but he became famous as one of the industry’s outstanding character actors. Therefore, he was a natural consideration for the title role as Dracula when Dan Curtis, fresh on the heels of his successful vampire-oriented Dark Shadows series, decided to make a new version of Dracula. Curtis’s Dracula was the first remake of the classic tale following the introduction of Vlad the Impaler, (also known as Vlad Dracul).

Palance portrayed a Dracula who had lost his love four centuries before, but rediscovered her in the person of Lucy Westenra, whose picture was carried by Jonathan Harker when he appears at Castle Dracula at the beginning of the film. Leaving Harker to be attacked by the women at the castle, Dracula went in search of his lost love. He turned her into a vampire, but she was killed by Abraham Van Helsing and her fiancé Arthur Holmwood. Enraged, Dracula sought revenge by attacking Mina Murray, Harker’s fiancé. Dracula was chased back to his castle and finally destroyed.

The Palance version first aired on CBS on February 8, 1974, and was then released to theaters in Europe. It subsequently took its place as one of the finer versions of Dracula and has been released on both VHS and DVD. Palance continued with his active career, which included hosting the popular television series Ripley’s Believe It or Not. He died in 2006.


Holte, James Craig. Dracula in the Dark: The Dracula Film Adaptations. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1997. 161 pp.
Jones, Stephen. The Illustrated Vampire Movie Guide. London: Titan Books, 1993. 144 pp.
The Vampire Book, Second Edition © 2011 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Western adventure, with Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin, Robert Ryan, Woody Strode, Jack Palance and Claudia Cardinale.
Billy Crystal, Bruno Kirby and Daniel Stern play big-city big shots who wind up leading cattle to Colorado when their fantasy vacation's trail boss (Jack Palance, who won Best Supporting Actor and did those pushups) is put out to pasture.
Comedy, starring Billy Crystal and Jack Palance. Mitch Robbins and his companions discover a treasure map that belonged to a notorious trail guide, and decide to follow it to see where it leads them (1994) ***
Alan Ladd, left, is fine as Shane, but is often upstaged by the supporting cast, including Jean Arthur, the extraordinary Brandon De Wilde and Jack Palance.
Rumor has it that Jack Palance read her name by mistake, especially since "few in the entertainment industry had anticipated that she would win the award, given her relative inexperience," ( Snopes reported. 
There, Curly Washburn (an Oscarwinning Jack Palance) teaches them to be cowboys - plus one or two things about life.
This is, of course, accompanied by a Jack Palance squint and extended leather wrapped, weather-worn index finger.
Moreover, when handed acting's highest accolade at the age of 73, grizzled screen veteran Jack Palance duly cemented his status as a man of few words by instead performing a series of one-armed push-ups in front of an agog audience of millions.
The latter, sometimes billed as Attack!, stars Jack Palance and Lee Marvin.
Odyssey will feature a variety of well-known and some lesser-known movies and television series starring Jack Nicholson, Vincent Price, Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney, Jr., Jack Palance, James Earl Jones, Mark Hamill, Bill Paxton, Brandon Lee, Robert Patrick, and many more.
Pictures in the exhibit, open until November 14, capture US actors Kirk Douglas and Joan Crawford signing autographs along the street, while Jack Palance sifts through the international newspapers on display at a kiosk.