Longtime character actor Michael J. Pollard has died at the age of 80. Pollard is best known for his role in Rob Zombie's House of 1,000 Corpses, but his credits extend as far as the original Star Trek series, where he played Jahn, leader of the band of feral, parent-murdering children. Pollard's unique look helped him standout in other film and TV performances, which include Scrooged, Tango & Cash, Tales from the Crypt, Dick Tracy and even the short-lived Superboy animated series, where Pollard voiced iconic Superman foe, Mr. Mxyzptlk. Needless to say, Pollard can be considered one of the true "unsung hero" types of Geek culture, and his unique charisma will be missed.
Rob Zombie was hit hard by the actor's loss, and took to social media to let his fandom know about this loss in the family:
"We have lost another member of our HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES family. I woke up to the news that Michael J. Pollard had died. I have always loved his work and his truly unique on screen presence. He was one of the first actors I knew I had to work with as soon as I got my first film off the ground. He will be missed.
I can't believe all three of my friends in this picture are now gone." --Rob Zombie
Pollard was originally from Passaic, New Jersey, and attended the Montclair Academy and Actors Studio in NYC. He got his start in the TV/Film industry in 1959, playing a shoeshine boy in an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. He landed additional roles and a non-singing part in the original Broadway version of Bye Bye Birdie, and also landed the role of Virgil on The Andy Griffith Show that same year. He would continue to work for CBS, ABC and Walt Disney as a character actor in different shows (Gunsmoke, Channing, The Lucy Show, I Spy, Lost In Space) and got a breakout on film, playing supporting role of bank robber C.W. Moss in the 1967 Bonnie and Clyde film, starring Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, and Gene Hackman.0comments
Bonnie and Clyde snagged Pollard Oscar and Golden Globe nominations, as well as the BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles. The newfound fame led to Pollard going so far as to launch a fake presidential campaign in 1968. Pollard would see his career evolve into the string of memorable character roles thereafter, cementing his name in the annals of geekdom several times over.
R.I.P. Michael J. Pollard. We extend our condolences to his friends, family, and many fans, in their time of grieving.