Lee J. Cobb

Lee J. Cobb

  • Born on
    • December 8th, 1911
  • Died on
    • February 11th, 1976
Lee J. Cobb (December 8, 1911 - February 11, 1976) ) was an American actor best known for his performance in 12 Angry Men (1957), his Academy Award-nominated performance in On the Waterfront, and one of his last films, The Exorcist (1973). He also played the role of Willy Loman in the original Broadway production of Arthur Miller's 1949 play Death of a Salesman under the direction of Elia Kazan. On television, Cobb costarred in the first four seasons of the popular, long-running western series The Virginian. He typically played arrogant, intimidating, and abrasive characters, but often had roles as respectable figures such as judges. Born Leo Jacob in New York City, he grew up in The Bronx,  before studying at New York University and making his film debut in The Vanishing Shadow (1934).  Cobb performed in numerous theater productions and companies, including Group Theatre (New York) before serving in the First Motion Picture Unit of the Army Air Force during World War II.   Following the war, Cobb returned to film, television and theater before being accused of being a Communist in 1951 testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee by Larry Parks, himself a former Communist Party member. Cobb was called to testify before HUAC but refused to do so for two years until, with his career threatened by the blacklist, he relented in 1953 and gave testimony in which he named 20 people as former members of the Communist Party USA. Following the hearing he resumed his career and worked with Elia Kazan and Budd Schulberg, two other HUAC "friendly witnesses", on the 1954 film On the Waterfront, which is widely seen as an allegory and apologia for testifying.  His 1968 performance as King Lear achieved the longest run (72 performances) for the play in Broadway history.  One of his final film roles was that of police detective Lt. Kinderman in the 1973 horror film The Exorcist. Cobb died of a heart attack in February 1976 in Woodland Hills, California, and was buried in Mount Sinai Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles. He was survived by his second wife, Mary Hirsch, and daughter, also an accomplished actress, Julie Cobb.

Starring Lee J. Cobb on Plex


Acting (43 Credits)

1973Double Indemnity as Barton Keyes
1973The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing as Lapchance
1973The Exorcist as Lt. William F. Kinderman
1971Lawman as Vincent Bronson
1970The Liberation of L.B. Jones as Oman Hedgepath
1969Mackenna's Gold as The Editor
1968Coogan's Bluff as Lt. McElroy
1968They Came to Rob Las Vegas as Steve Skorsky
1968Mafia as Don Mariano Arena
1967In Like Flint as Lloyd C. Cramden
1966Death of a Salesman as Willy Loman
1966Our Man Flint as Cramden
1963Come Blow Your Horn as Harry R. Baker
1962How the West Was Won as Marshal Lou Ramsey
1962The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse as Julio Madariaga
1962The Virginian as Richter Henry Garth
1960Exodus as Barak Ben Canaan
1959Green Mansions as Nuflo
1958Man of the West as Dock TobinWatch Free
1958Party Girl as Rico AngeloWatch Free
1958The Brothers Karamazov as Fyodor Karamazov
1957The Garment Jungle as Walter Mitchell
1957The Three Faces of Eve as Doctor Curtis Luther
195712 Angry Men as Juror 3
1956The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit as Judge Bernstein
1955The Left Hand of God as Mieh Yang
1954On the Waterfront as Johnny Friendly
1954Gorilla at Large as Detective Sgt. Garrison
1951Sirocco as Col. Feroud
1950The Man Who Cheated Himself as Lieutenant Ed CullenWatch Free
1949Thieves' Highway as Mike Figlia
1948Call Northside 777 as Brian Kelly
1948The Dark Past as Dr. Andrew Collins
1948The Miracle of the Bells as Marcus Harris
1948The Luck of the Irish as David C. Augur
1947Boomerang! as Chief Harold F. 'Robbie' Robinson
1947Johnny O'Clock as Inspector Koch
1947Captain from Castile as Juan Garcia
1946Anna and the King of Siam as Kralahome
1943The Song of Bernadette as Dr. Dozous
1941Men of Boys Town as Dave Morris
1939Golden Boy as Mr. Bonaparte
1939The Phantom Creeps as Road Crew Foreman (archive footage)


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