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Elam's most memorable physical feature, his "lazy" left eye, was caused when he was accidentally stabbed in the eye-socket with a pencil by one of his best friends at a Boy Scout meeting in 1928.


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Elam's most memorable physical feature, his "lazy" left eye, was caused occurred at age 12 when he was accidentally stabbed in the eye-socket with a pencil by one of his best friends at a Boy Scout meeting in 1928.



Elam was born in Miami, UsefulNotes/{{Arizona}}. He earned a degree in Accountancy, and worked as a bookkeeper for Standard Oil before joining the Navy during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII (he was a supply officer). After the war, he became an independent accountant in Hollywood, California, where one of his clients was studio mogul [[Creator/MetroGoldwynMayer Samuel Goldwyn]]. It was Goldwyn who suggested Elam try acting, telling Elam that "you've got the perfect face to play a tough guy." He made his film debut in 1949's ''She Shoulda Said No!'', a now forgotten low-budget exploitation film about marijuana addicts, playing a drug dealer. He'd go on to appear in nearly all of the popular western and crime dramas of the 50s and 60s, including ''Series/{{Gunsmoke}}'', ''Series/TheRifleman'', ''Series/{{Bonanza}}'', ''Series/{{Rawhide}}'', ''Series/{{Zorro}}'', ''Series/TheLoneRanger'', and ''Series/HaveGunWillTravel'', always as the bad guy. His first chance to play a straight-up, non-comedic good guy was his turn as Deputy U.S. Marshal J.D. Smith in ''Series/TheDakotas'', a short-lived western series on Creator/{{ABC}}.

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Elam was born in Miami, UsefulNotes/{{Arizona}}. He earned a degree in Accountancy, and worked as a bookkeeper for Standard Oil before joining the Navy during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII (he was a supply officer). After the war, he became an independent accountant in Hollywood, California, where one of his clients was studio mogul [[Creator/MetroGoldwynMayer Samuel Goldwyn]]. It was Goldwyn who suggested Elam try acting, telling Elam that "you've got the perfect face to play a tough guy." He made his film debut in 1949's ''She Shoulda Said No!'', a now forgotten low-budget exploitation film about marijuana addicts, playing a drug dealer. He'd go on to appear in nearly all of the popular western and crime dramas of the 50s and 60s, including ''Series/{{Gunsmoke}}'', ''Series/TheRifleman'', ''Series/{{Bonanza}}'', ''Series/{{Rawhide}}'', ''Series/{{Zorro}}'', ''Series/{{Zorro|1957}}'', ''Series/TheLoneRanger'', and ''Series/HaveGunWillTravel'', always as the bad guy. His first chance to play a straight-up, non-comedic good guy was his turn as Deputy U.S. Marshal J.D. Smith in ''Series/TheDakotas'', a short-lived western series on Creator/{{ABC}}.



* ''Series/{{Zorro}}'' (1958) as Gomez the Coachman

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* ''Series/{{Zorro}}'' ''Series/{{Zorro|1957}}'' (1958) as Gomez the Coachman

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* ''Film/{{Quicksand}}'' (1950) as Man at Bar (uncredited)

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* ''Film/RioLobo'' (1970) as Old Man Phillips


* ''Film/HannieCaulder'' (1973) as Frank Clemens


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* ''Film/HannieCaulder'' (1973) as Frank Clemens

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* ''Film/HannieCaulder'' (1973) as Frank Clemens


He was given his first comedic role (Not counting his light-hearted cameo in ''Film/HighNoon'') in 1969's ''Film/SupportYourLocalSheriff'', and the rest, as they say, was history. [[LeslieNielsenSyndrome After his masterful comedic performance in that movie, dramatic and villainous parts were pretty much never offered to him ever again]].

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He was given his first comedic role (Not counting his While he appeared in a relatively light-hearted cameo in ''Film/HighNoon'') ''Film/HighNoon'', his was given his first real comedic role in 1969's ''Film/SupportYourLocalSheriff'', and the rest, as they say, was history. [[LeslieNielsenSyndrome After his masterful comedic performance in that movie, dramatic and villainous parts were pretty much never offered to him ever again]].


Elam was born in Miami, UsefulNotes/{{Arizona}}. He earned a degree in Accountancy, and worked as a bookkeeper for Standard Oil before joining the Navy during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII (he was a supply officer). After the war, he became an independent accountant in Hollywood, California, where one of his clients was studio mogul [[Creator/MetroGoldwynMayer Samuel Goldwyn]]. It was Goldwyn who suggested Elam try acting, telling Elam that "you've got the perfect face to play a tough guy." He made his film debut in 1949's ''She Shoulda Said No!'', a now forgotten low-budget exploitation film about marijuana addicts, playing a drug dealer. He'd go on to appear in nearly all of the popular western and crime dramas of the 50s and 60s, including ''Series/{{Gunsmoke}}'', ''Series/TheRifleman'', ''Series/{{Bonanza}}'', ''Series/{{Rawhide}}'', ''Series/{{Zorro}}'', ''Franchise/TheLoneRanger'', and ''Series/HaveGunWillTravel'', always as the bad guy. His first chance to play a straight-up, non-comedic good guy was his turn as Deputy U.S. Marshal J.D. Smith in ''Series/TheDakotas'', a short-lived western series on Creator/{{ABC}}.

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Elam was born in Miami, UsefulNotes/{{Arizona}}. He earned a degree in Accountancy, and worked as a bookkeeper for Standard Oil before joining the Navy during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII (he was a supply officer). After the war, he became an independent accountant in Hollywood, California, where one of his clients was studio mogul [[Creator/MetroGoldwynMayer Samuel Goldwyn]]. It was Goldwyn who suggested Elam try acting, telling Elam that "you've got the perfect face to play a tough guy." He made his film debut in 1949's ''She Shoulda Said No!'', a now forgotten low-budget exploitation film about marijuana addicts, playing a drug dealer. He'd go on to appear in nearly all of the popular western and crime dramas of the 50s and 60s, including ''Series/{{Gunsmoke}}'', ''Series/TheRifleman'', ''Series/{{Bonanza}}'', ''Series/{{Rawhide}}'', ''Series/{{Zorro}}'', ''Franchise/TheLoneRanger'', ''Series/TheLoneRanger'', and ''Series/HaveGunWillTravel'', always as the bad guy. His first chance to play a straight-up, non-comedic good guy was his turn as Deputy U.S. Marshal J.D. Smith in ''Series/TheDakotas'', a short-lived western series on Creator/{{ABC}}.

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* EyeScream: His left eye was accidentally blinded by a pencil in his childhood, and many of his roles take advantage of its eerie immobility.

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* ''Film/TheNightOfTheGrizzly'' (1966) as Hank

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* LeslieNielsenSyndrome: As a young man, he played mostly serious roles. Later in life he was almost exclusively cast in comedies.

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* ''Film/RanchoNotorious'' (1952) as Mort Geary

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* ''Film/KissMeDeadly'' (1955) as Charlie Max


* ''[[Film/SupportYourLocalSheriff Support Your Local Gunfighter]]'' as Jug May

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* ''[[Film/SupportYourLocalSheriff Support Your Local Gunfighter]]'' (1971) as Jug May


* ''Film/KnifeForTheLadies'' as Sheriff Jarrod

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* ''Film/KnifeForTheLadies'' (1974) as Sheriff Jarrod

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