By Donald Dewey
For a lot of his theater contemporaries, Lee J. Cobb (1911–1976) was once the best actor of his new release. In Hollywood he grew to become the definitive embodiment of gangsters, psychiatrists, and roaring lunatics. From 1939 till his loss of life, Cobb contributed riveting performances to a couple of movies, together with Boomerang, On the Waterfront, The Brothers Karamazov, 12 indignant Men, and The Exorcist. yet for all of his conspicuous achievements in movies, Cobb’s identify is so much pointed out with the nature Willy Loman within the unique level creation of Arthur Miller’s Death of a salesperson (1949). Directed by means of Elia Kazan, Cobb’s Broadway functionality proved to be a benchmark for American theater.
In Lee J. Cobb: Characters of an Actor, Donald Dewey seems on the existence and occupation of this flexible performer. From his reduce East part roots in manhattan City—where he used to be born Leo Jacob—to a number of accolades on degree and the large and small monitors, Cobb’s existence proved to be a tumultuous rollercoaster of highs and lows. As a number one guy of the theater, he gave a couple of compelling performances in such performs as Golden Boy and King Lear. For the Hollywood studios, Cobb healthy the outline of the “character actor.” not anyone larger epitomized the performer who without warning seems at the monitor and instantly grabs the audience’s realization. in the course of his forty-five-year occupation, there wasn’t an important star—from Humphrey Bogart and James Stewart to Paul Newman and Clint Eastwood—with whom he didn’t paintings.
Cobb used to be additionally via controversy: he seemed prior to the home Un-American actions Committee within the Fifties and used to be a witness to a movie-set homicide case within the Nineteen Seventies. via all of it, he by no means misplaced his flavor for quick automobiles and gin rummy. A endure of a guy with a voice that both accommodated growls and sibilant sympathies, Cobb was once undeniably an actor to be reckoned with. during this attention-grabbing publication, Dewey captures all the drama that surrounded Cobb, either on reveal and off.