Lee J. Cobb Biography, Life, Interesting Facts
Childhood and Early Life
Actor Lee J. Cobb was born Leo Jacoby on the 8 December 1911 in New York City. His father was a newspaper editor, and the family was Jewish. As a child, he showed musical talent and played the violin as well as the harmonica. His dream of a career in music ended when he broke his wrist as a teenager. Instead, he ran away to Los Angeles but returned home after he had no success breaking into acting.
Lee J. Cobb studied accounting at the City College of New York.
Rise to Fame
While a student, Lee J. Cobb acted in radio dramas and 1935, he joined the Group Theatre, a left-wing theatre group in New York City. He made his stage debut in Waiting for Lefty. His film debut was in The Vanishing Shadow (1934). Other early roles include North of the Rio Grande (1937), Rustler’s Valley (1937), Ali Baba Goes to Town (1937) and Golden Boy (1938).
Lee J. Cobb went on to act in many other films but also continued his stage work. Movies during the 1940s include The Song of Bernadette (1943), Winged Victory (1944), The King of Siam (1946), Johnny O’Clock (1947), Bommerang (1947) and Captain Castile (1947). On stage, he took the lead of Willy Loman in Arthur Miller’s Death Of A Salesman which premiered at the Morosco Theatre on the 10th February 1946 and which was directed by Elia Kazan. The play won a Tony Award for best play, supporting actor, author, producer, and director and ran for 742 performances.
In the 1950s, he appeared in the films On The Waterfront (1954), The Left Hand of God (1955), The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1956), Twelve Angry Men (1957), The Three Faces of Eve (1957) and The Brothers Karamazov (1958).
During the 1960s and 1970s, Lee J. Cobb acted in Exodus (1960), How The West Was Won (1962), Coogan’s Bluff (1968) and The Exorcist (1973).
Awards and Achievements
Lee J. Cobb was nominated for an Academy Award Best Supporting Actor Oscar for On the Waterfront in 1954.
In 1953, Lee J. Cobb was summoned to appear before the Un-American Activities Committee and gave names to protect his friends and family. His first wife was Helen Beverly (m.1849-div.1952). They had two children. He then married Mary Hirsh in 1957. They had two children and remained married until his death. Cobb died of a heart attack in Los Angeles, California on the 11 February 1976.