|Jack Palance in Tim Burtonâ€™s Batman (1989). Photo: Warner Bros.|
When Jack Palance famously took the stage at the 1992 Academy Awards, he was celebrating much more than a single Oscar victory. For the first time in his long Hollywood career, Palance was getting the recognition he deserved.
After 40-odd years as an iconic on-screen villain, it was Palance’s self-mocking turn as Curly Washburn in City Slickersâ€”a surprising comic performance from the actorâ€”that would win him the statuette, and the opportunity to show off his talent for one-handed pushups in front of all of Hollywood and a worldwide viewing audience.
But famous stunts aside, Palance was an impressive on-screen presence, able to portray villainy to perfection in films like David Miller’s Sudden Fear and George Stevens’ Shane. An accomplished painter and writer (his prose poem, The Forest of Love, was published in 1996), Palance was known for his matter-of-fact attitude toward the Hollywood machine; he was a man who played the game without selling out. As the embodiment of old-school movie star masculinity, Jack Palance made an indelible mark on the film world that will not be forgotten.