Jack Palance

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Name: Jack Brazzo
Alias: Jack Palance
Birth Name: Volodymir Ivanovich Palahniuk
Born: 1919-02-18
Birthplace: Lattimer Mines, Pennsylvania, USA
Died: 2006-11-10 (Age:87)
Hometown: Hazleton, Pennsylvania, USA
Height: 6′ 3″   /   191cm
Boxing Record: click

Career Review

Veteran movie actor Jack Palance was a professional boxer in his youth before the outbreak of World War II. Born Volodymir Palahniuk, of Ukranian descent, the 6 feet 3 inch., 200 pounder, dropped out of the University of North Carolina, and boxed under the name "Jack Brazzo" because he thought that sounded like what a prizefighter's name should be.

Fighting in coal-mining towns in Pennsylvania, Palance reportedly ran up an unconfirmed record of 12-1 (12 knockouts) over a host of local club-fighters. However to date no other fights have been traced. Brazzo was reported to be in Louisville, in the September 24, 1939 Louisville Courier-Journal. Brazzo was then training under the tutelage of Max Novich a medical student at the University of Louisville. Brazzo expressed interest in attending the University of Louisville, and possibly boxing at the college. No further mentions of Brazzo in the paper, appeared, however. Brazzo boxed as an amateur heavyweight out of Hazelton in 1939 and 1940, with the last report of his amateur career in the Coal Region in the April 13, 1940 Mount Carmel Item. His only recorded fight was in New York State against future heavyweight contender Joe Baksi. Palance lost the decision and in an interview he gave to the Los Angeles Times in 1995 he said "then, I thought, You must be nuts to get your head beat in for $200. The theater seemed a lot more appealing".

Palance then entered the military to fight in World War II. He was wounded during the war, and after his discharge, he changed his name to Palance and resumed his education at Stanford University.

Palance married actress Virginia Baker for 18 years and had three children. His daughter Holly is best known as the host of the television series, Ripley's Believe It or Not. His son, Cody, who acted in the 1988 movie, Young Guns, died of cancer in 1998.

He went on to a successful career as an actor, acting in such classics as Shane, Sudden Fear', and Panic in the Streets. He won a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his role in 1991's City Slickers. He kept active into his late 80s, spending his time painting, writing poetry, and acting.

On November 10, 2006, Jack Palance died. He was survived by his daughters Holly and Brooke, three grandchildren, his 2nd wife Elaine Rodgers, his brother John, and sister Anne Despiva.


  • Los Angeles Times, Saturday, November 11, 2006: ACCLAIMED VILLAIN WON OSCAR FOR COMEDY.
  • Miami Herald, Saturday, November 11, 2006, page 5B: DEATHS, JACK PALANCE 87:ACCLAIMED VILLAIN WON OSCAR FOR COMEDY, by Myrna Oliver.
  • Los Angeles Times, 1995.
  • IMDb Bio