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Creator / Lee J. Cobb

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Lee J. Cobb (born Leo Jacobi; December 8, 1911 February 11, 1976) was an American screen and stage actor.

On Broadway, he was best known for originating the role of Willy Loman in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman in 1949. Cobb later reprised the role in a 1966 Made-for-TV Movie adaptation of the play.

After being threatened with blacklisting as a suspected Communist by the HUAC in 1951 and initially refusing to give the names of his colleagues, Cobb eventually relented and informed on some of his pro-Communist fellow actors, stating that he had no desire to ruin his own life and career in order to be a hero or martyr. Having done so, his career was back on track and he went on to appear in several films widely regarded as classics.

During much of his career, Cobb was often typecast as curmudgeonly, angry, and overbearing characters, such as his memorable turn as the vindictive and vitriolic Juror #3 in 12 Angry Men and as the corrupt and violent union boss Johnny Friendly in On the Waterfront. However, he was a versatile actor equally at home in more sympathetic roles, such as the kindly, avuncular Detective William Kinderman in The Exorcist.

Lee J. Cobb died of a heart attack in 1976 and was posthumously honored by being inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame.


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