Michael J. Pollard

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Michael J. Pollard
Born Michael John Pollack Jr.
(1939-05-30) May 30, 1939 (age 78)
Passaic, New Jersey, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1959–present
Spouse(s) Beth Howland (1961-1969; divorced); 1 child

Michael John Pollard (born Michael John Pollack Jr.; May 30, 1939) is an American actor best known for playing the character C. W. Moss in the 1967 crime film Bonnie and Clyde.

Personal life[edit]

Pollard was born in Passaic, New Jersey. He is the son of Sonia V. (née Dubanowich) and Michael John Pollack.[1] His parents were both of Polish descent, although the federal census of 1940 cites the birthplace of his mother and father being respectively New York and New Jersey.[2] That 1940 census also documents that Pollard's father, who was 31-years-old at the time, supported his wife and 10-month-old Michael, Jr., by working 60 hours a week as a bartender at O'Rourke's Tap Room.[2][3] With regard to Pollard's later education and his training as an actor, he attended the Montclair Academy and as a young man gained stage experience and extensive performance instruction under Herbert Berghof, Lee Strasberg, and Lee Grant at the legendary Actors Studio in New York.[4][5]

Career[edit]

Early career[edit]

In 1959, Pollard had a tiny role as a shoeshine boy in an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, "Appointment at Eleven" (Season 5 Episode 3). Pollard also portrayed Homer McCauley, the dramatic lead, in a television adaptation of William Saroyan's novel The Human Comedy, narrated by Burgess Meredith. That same year Pollard appeared in the episode "The Unknown Town" of David Hedison's 16-segment NBC espionage TV series Five Fingers.

Later that same year, Pollard appeared in episode five of CBS's The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis as Jerome Krebs, the first cousin of Maynard G. Krebs, played by Bob Denver, who in real life had been drafted into the United States Army. Pollard's character was to have been a replacement for Maynard but disappeared when Denver was classified 4-F and was able to return to the series.[6]

Pollard created the non-singing role of Hugo Peabody in the original Broadway production of Bye Bye Birdie.[4] In 1962, Pollard appeared in the short-lived Robert Young comedy/drama series Window on Main Street in the episode "The Boy Who Got Too Many Laughs",[7]. That same year he was cast in the role of Virgil, Deputy Barney Fife's socially awkward but talented cousin, on CBS's The Andy Griffith Show.

In 1963, he appeared on an episode of ABC's Channing, a drama about college life starring Jason Evers and Henry Jones. That same year Pollard played the role of Digby in the movie Summer Magic, starring Hayley Mills. He was cast too as Danny Larkin in the 1963 episode "Tell Me When You Get to Heaven" of the ABC drama, Going My Way, starring Gene Kelly as a Roman Catholic priest in New York City.

Pollard played the role of Cyrus in a 1964 episode of the CBS western series, Gunsmoke, one titled "Journey for Three". That year he also appeared as Ted Mooney, son of Mr. Mooney, on The Lucy Show. In 1965, he played the role of "Jingles" in the episode "The Princess and the Paupers" on the ABC crime drama, Honey West, starring Anne Francis.

In 1966, he portrayed Bernie in another NBC espionage series, I Spy, in the episode "Trial by Treehouse" (October 19, 1966), alongside series stars Bill Cosby and Robert Culp with other guest stars Cicely Tyson and Raymond St. Jacques. Also in 1966, Pollard played the role of Stanley, the runny-nosed airplane mechanic, in The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming.

In 1967, he played the supporting role of C. W. Moss in Arthur Penn's Bonnie and Clyde, alongside Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Gene Hackman, and Estelle Parsons, for which he received Academy Award and Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor and won a BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles. The role led to his joke candidacy in 1968 for President of the United States.[citation needed]

Also in 1967, he acted in the Carl Reiner comedy Enter Laughing, in which he played the role of a friend of the main character, David Kolowitz (Reni Santoni), and played the lead role in Derek May's short drama, Niagara Falls.[8] In 1969, he played the supporting role of "Packy", an escaped American POW, in the World War II-themed Hannibal Brooks. In 1970, he had a starring role as Little Fauss in the cult motorcycle racing movie, Little Fauss and Big Halsy with Robert Redford, Noah Beery Jr., Lucille Benson, and Lauren Hutton.

Pollard is noted for his short stature, which had him playing child roles well into his twenties (including on Star Trek, where he played one of the inhabitants of the planet of children in the episode "Miri") and resulted in a recurring role as the diminutive trans-dimensional imp Mister Mxyzptlk in two episodes of the Superboy television series. He also appeared in the memorable first season episode of Irwin Allen's Lost In Space as a nameless Peter Pan-like boy who lives in the dimension behind all mirrors ("The Magic Mirror"[9])

1970s–present[edit]

Pollard starred in Dirty Little Billy (1972), set in Coffeyville, Kansas, portraying Billy the Kid at the beginning of his criminal career. He later had a key supporting role in the 1980 cult film Melvin and Howard about the Melvin Dummar, Howard Hughes, Mormon Will controversy. In 1987, Pollard played the role of a slow-witted volunteer firefighter, Andy, in the film Roxanne, starring Steve Martin. The following year Pollard played the role of Herman (the homeless man who thought Bill Murray was Richard Burton) in the movie Scrooged.[10]

In 1989 he played Owen, the inventor of super weapons and a super car, in Tango & Cash, starring Kurt Russell and Sylvester Stallone. Actor Michael J. Fox, whose real middle initial is "A", has stated that he adopted the "J" in his name in homage to Pollard.[11] Also in 1989 he played a minor role in Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland. Pollard played Bug Bailey in the 1990 film Dick Tracy.[citation needed]

In 1992, he starred in a sixth-season episode of Ray Bradbury Theater, The Handler, in which he portrayed a mortician who tried to give his clients a little extra treatment that he thought they should have. In 1993, he appeared in the horror film Skeeter. In 1997, he played the role of Aeolus in The Odyssey starring Armand Assante. Pollard has continued to work in film and television into the 21st century, including his appearance as "Stucky" in the 2003 Rob Zombie-directed cult classic House of 1000 Corpses.[citation needed]

Filmography[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

In 1968, DJ-turned-singer Jim Lowe (who hit the top of the charts in 1956 with "The Green Door") recorded "Michael J. Pollard for President" on the Buddah Records label.[citation needed]

Legacy[edit]

  • AMT released a 125 model kit of the Michael J. Pollard "Flower Power 1936 Ford" Item # T218-200.
  • Actor Michael J. Fox, whose real middle name is Andrew, adopted the middle initial "J." as an homage to Pollard.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Michael J. Pollard profile at". filmreference.com. 
  2. ^ a b "The Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940" Passaic City, Passaic County, New Jersey; digital copy of original enumeration page, April 3, 1940. United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Washington, D.C. FamilySearch, a genealogical on-line database provided as a public service by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah. Retrieved May 31, 2017.
  3. ^ "Biography of Michael J. Pollard", Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Retrieved March 30, 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Michael J. Pollard", actor's profile in Playbill for his role as Hugo Peabody in the original Broadway production Bye Bye Birdie, April 14, 1960. Playbill archive. Retrieved May 31, 2017.
  5. ^ Biography, yahoo.com; accessed March 30, 2016.
  6. ^ Dobie Gillis Episode Guide, gte.net; accessed May 22, 2017.
  7. ^ The Boy Who Got Too Many Laughs on Internet Movie Database
  8. ^ Ryan, Terry (27 September 1969). "Derek May: a cosmic weatherman". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 6 October 2016. 
  9. ^ "The Magic Mirror": an essay of analysis, pennyrobinsonfanclub.net; accessed March 30, 2016.
  10. ^ IMDB details: Scrooged, imdb.com; accessed March 30, 2016.
  11. ^ Inside the Actor's Studio. 2005-10-30. No. 4, season 12.
  12. ^ "Steve Winwood". stevewinwood.com. 
  13. ^ "Michael J. Fox Biography". The Michael J Fox Foundation. Retrieved January 11, 2015. 

External links[edit]