Michael J. Pollard
Michael J. Pollard
Michael John Pollack Jr.
May 30, 1939
(m. 1961; div. 1969)
Michael John Pollard (born Michael John Pollack Jr.; May 30, 1939) is an American actor. He is best known for playing C.W. Moss in the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde, which earned him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor nomination.
Pollard was born in Passaic, New Jersey. He is the son of Sonia V. (née Dubanowich) and Michael John Pollack. His parents were both of Polish descent. His mother was born in New York and his father was born in New Jersey. Pollard's father supported his wife and Michael, Jr. by working 60 hours a week as a bartender at O'Rourke's Tap Room. Pollard attended the Montclair Actors Studio in New York.
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) and as Herpetologist H. Eidelpfeiffer in "Anniversary Gift" (Season 5 Episode 6). 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.
Pollard created the non-singing role of Hugo Peabody in the original Broadway production of Bye Bye Birdie. 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". 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 Popham in the Walt Disney family musical Summer Magic, opposite 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 (uncredited) role of Stanley, the runny-nosed airplane mechanic, in The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming.
Pollard is noted for his short stature, which allowed him to play youthful roles well into his twenties. One such notable role included the teenage-leader of an all-child planet in the haunting, iconic episode "Miri" on the original Star Trek series:
... Michael J. Pollard is smarmily effective as, in essence, a cult leader for the kids, and the kids themselves manage a perfect blend of creepy, scary, and silly. The cry of “bonk-bonk on the head” is amusing right up until twenty kids pile onto Kirk and he emerges with blood seeping down the sides of his head.
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, complete with a campaign song: "Michael J. Pollard for President", recorded by DJ and recording artist Jim Lowe, best known for the 1950s hit "The Green Door". (The record features Pollard himself, asking, "Hey, man...president of what...?" and a snippet from real candidate Robert Kennedy; Kennedy was assassinated soon after the disc came out, which led many radio stations to refuse to play it.)
Also in 1967, Pollard played the lead role in Derek May's short drama, Niagara Falls. Later that year, he was once again singled out for praise in Carl Reiner's autobiographical comedy Enter Laughing; noted film critic Roger Ebert wrote:
Michael J. Pollard, an unknown before his fascinating entry in Bonnie and Clyde, brings his squint and grin to the part of Marvin, our hero's buddy, and steals every scene. There is something about Pollard that is absolutely original and seems to strike audiences as irresistibly funny and deserving of affection. If he works at it and gets a break or two, there will be no stopping him. Really. All he needs is visibility, and people will become addicted.
This is no typical, Tinseltown western though. It's more like The Making of a Sociopath, with Michael J. Pollard starring as displaced, 17-year-old Billy Bonney, in the days leading up to his evolution into the notorious Billy the Kid ... this is the perfect role for Pollard. And though a little old to play a teenager (he was 33), he hands us a Billy who's perpetually victimized by bad luck, until he finally blows a gasket at the very end and sparks his future.
In 1974, he played the role of a young man dying of cancer, in the season one opening episode, "The Time of His Life", of the trucking TV series Movin' On. He later had a key supporting role in the 1980 cult film Melvin and Howard about the Melvin Dummar-Howard Hughes Mormon Will controversy. Pollard also starred in 6 episodes of the failed CBS comedy series Leo & Liz in Beverly Hills (1986) with Harvey Korman and Valerie Perrine.
In 1987, Pollard played the role of an inquisitive 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.
In 1989, Pollard had a minor role in Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland and a larger role (as the inventor of super weapons and a super car) in Tango & Cash, which also starred Kurt Russell and Sylvester Stallone. Also in 1989, he had a two-episode role as the fifth-dimensional imp-villain Mr. Mxyzptlk in the Superboy TV series.
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.
- It Happened to Jane (1959) as Lloyd (uncredited)
- Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man (1962) as George
- The Stripper (1963) as Jelly
- Summer Magic (1963) as Digby Popham
- The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming (1966) as Stanley (airplane mechanic) (uncredited)
- The Wild Angels (1966) as Pigmy
- Enter Laughing (1967) as Marvin
- Caprice (1967) as Barney
- Bonnie and Clyde (1967) as C.W. Moss
- Niagara Falls (1967)
- Jigsaw (1968) as Dill
- Hannibal Brooks (1969) as Packy
- Little Fauss and Big Halsy (1970) as Little Fauss
- The Legend of Frenchie King (1971) as The Sheriff
- Morbo (1972) as Hombre de la casa
- Dirty Little Billy (1972) as Billy Bonney
- Sunday in the Country (1974) as Leroy
- Four of the Apocalypse (1975) as Clem
- Between the Lines (1977) as The Hawker
- Melvin and Howard (1980) as Little Red
- Heated Vengeance (1985) as Snake
- The American Way (1986) as Tesla
- The Patriot (1986) as Howard
- America (1986) as Bob Jolly
- Roxanne (1987) as Andy
- American Gothic (1988) as Woody
- Scrooged (1988) as Herman
- Season of Fear (1989) as Bob
- Fast Food (1989) as Bud
- Night Visitor (1989) as Stanley Willard
- Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland (1989) as Herman
- Next of Kin (1989) as Harold
- Heartstopper (1989) as Dr. Lubbock
- Tango & Cash (1989) as Owen
- Why Me? (1990) as Ralph
- Dark Angel (1990) as Boner
- Dick Tracy (1990) as Bug Bailey
- The Arrival (1991) as Lou
- Joey Takes a Cab (1991) as Alan
- Another You (1991) as Brad (uncredited)
- The Art of Dying (1991) as Delbert
- Motorama (1991) as Lou
- Split Second (1992) as The Rat Catcher
- Arizona Dream (1993) as Fabian
- Skeeter (1993) as Hopper
- Mad Dog Time (1996) as Red Mash
- The Odyssey (1997) as Aeolus
- Stir (1997) as Hotel Manager
- Merchants of Venus (1998) as The Senator
- The Unknown Cyclist (1998) as Gabe Sinclair
- Tumbleweeds (1999) as Mr. Cummings
- The Debtors (1999)
- Forever Lulu (2000) as Hippie
- Danny and Max (2000) as Berquist
- Out of the Black (2001) as Ned
- House of 1000 Corpses (2003) as Stucky
- Sunburnt Angels (2011) as Cards
- The Woods (2012) as Moose
In popular culture
- Pollard suggested the title for the Traffic song "The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys".
- AMT released a 1⁄25 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.
- "Michael J. Pollard profile at". filmreference.com.
- "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.
- "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.
- Biography, yahoo.com; accessed March 30, 2016.
- International Television & Video Almanac, Volume 49, p. 337. Quigley Publishing Company, 2004. Accessed December 3, 2017. "Pollard, Michael J. Actor r.n. Michael J. Pollack b. Passaic, NJ, May 30, 1939, e. Montclair Academy, Actors Studio"
- Dobie Gillis Episode Guide Archived July 16, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, gte.net; accessed May 22, 2017.
- "9 bonkers fan theories about classic TV shows". MeTV. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
- "Michael J. Pollard". TVGuide.com. TV Guide. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
- Pickens, JN. "Musical Monday: "Summer Magic" (1963)". Comet Over Hollywood. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
- "Trial By Treehouse - Season 2". The Illustrated Guide to I Spy. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
- DeCandido, Keith. "Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: "Miri"". Tor.com. Retrieved 27 May 2015.
- "The Magic Mirror": an essay of analysis, pennyrobinsonfanclub.net; accessed March 30, 2016.
- Muir, John Kenneth. "Lost in Space Day: "The Magic Mirror"". John Kenneth Muir's Reflections on Cult Movies and Classic TV. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
- "C.W. MOSS (MICHAEL J. POLLARD) Character Analysis". Schmoop. 2018.
- "Winners & Nominees : Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture 1968". GoldenGlobes.com. Golden Globe Awards. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
- "Oscar Ceremony 1968 (Actor In A Supporting Role)". Oscars.org. Academy Awards. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
- "Michael J. Pollard for President by Jim Lowe (Buddah Label)". 45cat.com. May 1968.
- "Jim Lowe (2) – Michael J. Pollard For President". Discogs. 1968.
- Ryan, Terry (September 27, 1969). "Derek May: a cosmic weatherman". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
- Ebert, Roger (30 September 1967). "Enter Laughing (1967)". RogerEbert.com. Chicago Sun-Times.
- "Hannibal Brooks (1969) Directed by Michael Winner". LETTERBOXD. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
- Ebert, Roger (15 June 1969). "INTERVIEW WITH ROBERT REDFORD". RogerEbert.com. Chicago Sun-Times.
- Ebert, Roger (19 October 1969). "INTERVIEW WITH MICHAEL J. POLLARD". RogerEbert.com. Chicago Sun-Times.
- Puchalski, Steven (1996). "DIRTY LITTLE BILLY (1972)". Shock Cinema. Shock Cinema Magazine.
- Ebert, Roger (13 February 1981). "Melvin and Howard (1981)". RogerEbert.com. Chicago Sun-Times.
- O'Connor, John J. (April 24, 1986). "'LEO AND LIZ' AND 'BRIDGES TO CROSS'". New York Times. The New York Times.
- "Leo And Liz In Beverly Hills - CBS (ended 1986)". TV.com. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
- "Mister Mxyzptlk (Superboy TV Series)". DC Fanbase. DC Comics. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
- "Dick Tracy Trading Cards: Bug Bailey". The Trading Card Database. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
- "Ray Bradbury Theater – The Handler (10/27/92)". Genre Snaps. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
- Joe Bob Briggs. "Skeeter (1993)". JoeBobBriggs.com. Retrieved 18 March 2010.
- Lemire, Christy. "'House of 1,000 Corpses' depressing". DeseretNews.com. Deseret News. Retrieved 14 April 2003.
- "Steve Winwood : NOTES : The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys". SteveWinwood.com. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
- "Michael J. Fox Biography". The Michael J Fox Foundation. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
- Inside the Actor's Studio. October 30, 2005. No. 4, season 12.
- Michael J. Pollard on IMDb
- Michael J. Pollard at the Internet Broadway Database
- Michael J. Pollard at Internet off-Broadway Database
- In Praise of Michael J. Pollard contains excellent retrospective of his career, movie-stills, posters, publicity photos, etc.
- Overview for Michael J. Pollard at Turner Classic Movies (TCM)