Born in Lattimer Mines, PA (outside Hazleton), Jack Palance has been a TV and motion picture actor for more than 40 years. His many film credits include Shane, The Professionals, Batman, and City Slickers, for which he won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 1991. Mr. Palance delighted the audience at the Academy Awards that year when he, at age 71, started doing one-handed push-ups onstage. Billy Crystal, the awards host, was totally upstaged and made jokes about it for the rest of the evening.
One of the best known "tough-guys" in film, Mr. Palance played Attila the Hun in Sign of the Pagan and Fidel Castro in Che. He won an Emmy in 1956 for his role as the bloodied but unbowed boxer in Rod Serling's live TV drama, Requiem for a Heavyweight.
Jack Palance (born Walter Palanuik) worked in the coal mines in his youth, and was also a boxer. He has a degree in journalism from Stanford University. Recently, Mr. Palance has written a book-length poem entitled The Forest of Love, which details a man's frank yearnings for love and intimacy with women through the autumn of his years. He painted the picture used on the cover, and several paintings inside the book.
Ed. note: I once saw Jack Palance shopping in the Laurel Mall in Hazleton when I was a kid. I wanted his autograph, but I was too chicken to say anything to him!