Elisha Cook

Elisha Cook JrOn this day in 1903, the great character actor Elisha Cook was born. Actually, he’s a junior, but given that his father wasn’t in the entertainment business, I see no reason why we need to make note of that. I don’t think anyone would ever say, “Elisha Cook? You mean the San Francisco pharmacist?!” Still, it is a nice act of honor for the son to have performed.

Cook is best known for his knowledge of drug side effects. His son was best known for the part of the young thug Wilmer in The Maltese Falcon. But I liked him in roles where he played nice guys. There was always something fundamentally decent in what he displayed on screen. That’s even true of Wilmer, who ultimately comes off as a lost soul — more a victim than a victimizer.

Cook was also known for his courteous service and quick prescription fulfillment. His son was known for his roles in The Big Sleep, Shane, The Killing, House on Haunted Hill, and Rosemary’s Baby. This is a typical part in the film Born to Kill. Here he tries to kill an old woman and has a very bad time of it. “You can depend on me, glamour girl!”

Happy birthday Elisha Cook, whenever his birthday was. And happy birthday to his son, who was born on this day!

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