Image of Lee J. Cobb

Lee J. Cobb

Lee J. Cobb (December 8, 1911 - February 11, 1976) ) was an American actor best known for his performance in 12 Angry Men (1957), his Academy Award-nominated performance in On the Waterfront, and one of his last films, The Exorcist (1973). He also played the role of Willy Loman in the original Broadway production of Arthur Miller's 1949 play Death of a Salesman under the direction of Elia Kazan. On television, Cobb costarred in the first four seasons of the popular, long-running western series The Virginian. He typically played arrogant, intimidating, and abrasive characters, but often had roles as respectable figures such as judges. Born Leo Jacob in New York City, he grew up in The Bronx,  before studying at New York University and making his film debut in The Vanishing Shadow (1934).  Cobb performed in numerous theater productions and companies, including Group Theatre (New York) before serving in the First Motion Picture Unit of the Army Air Force during World War II.   Following the war, Cobb returned to film, television and theater before being accused of being a Communist in 1951 testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee by Larry Parks, himself a former Communist Party member. Cobb was called to testify before HUAC but refused to do so for two years until, with his career threatened by the blacklist, he relented in 1953 and gave testimony in which he named 20 people as former members of the Communist Party USA. Following the hearing he resumed his career and worked with Elia Kazan and Budd Schulberg, two other HUAC "friendly witnesses", on the 1954 film On the Waterfront, which is widely seen as an allegory and apologia for testifying.  His 1968 performance as King Lear achieved the longest run (72 performances) for the play in Broadway history.  One of his final film roles was that of police detective Lt. Kinderman in the 1973 horror film The Exorcist. Cobb died of a heart attack in February 1976 in Woodland Hills, California, and was buried in Mount Sinai Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles. He was survived by his second wife, Mary Hirsch, and daughter, also an accomplished actress, Julie Cobb.

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Dec 8, 1911 In New York City, New York, USA
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
In the movie The Vanishing Shadow 1934-04-22
Latest Project:
Movie The Meanest Men in the West 1978-05-04
Known For
Poster of Dr. Max
Poster of Coogan's Bluff
Poster of How the West Was Won
Poster of 12 Angry Men
Movie The Meanest Men in the West Judge Henry Garth 1978-05-04
Movie Nick the Sting Robert Clarke 1976-09-14
Series Origins of the Mafia Bartolomeo Gramignano 1976-11-19
Movie Cross Shot Dante Ragusa 1976-12-30
Movie That Lucky Touch Henry Steedman 1975-08-07
Movie Blood, Sweat and Fear Benzi 1975-08-01
Movie Mark Shoots First Il commedator Benzi 1975-12-22
Movie Dr. Max Maxwell Gordon 1974-04-04
Movie Trapped Beneath the Sea Victor Bateman 1974-10-22
Movie The Balloon Vendor Twenty Years 1974-12-21
Movie The Great Ice Rip-Off Willy Calso 1974-11-06
Movie The Exorcist Lt. William F. Kinderman 1973-05-31
Movie The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing Lapchance 1973-06-28
Movie Double Indemnity Barton Keyes 1973-10-13
Movie The Great Kidnapping Jovine 1973-11-16
Movie Heat of Anger Frank Galvin 1972-03-03
Movie The Bull Of The West Judge Garth 1972-05-04
Movie Lawman Vincent Bronson 1971-03-11
Series McCloud Unknown 1970-02-17
Movie Annie: the Women in the Life of a Man Himself 1970-02-18
Movie Macho Callahan Duffy 1970-08-17
Series The Young Lawyers 1970-09-21
Movie The Liberation of L.B. Jones Oman Hedgepath 1970-03-18
Movie Mackenna's Gold The Editor 1969-03-18
Movie They Came to Rob Las Vegas Steve Skorsky 1968-02-07
Movie The Day of the Owl Don Mariano Arena 1968-02-17
Movie Coogan's Bluff Lt. McElroy 1968-10-02
Movie In Like Flint Lloyd C. Cramden 1967-03-15
Movie Our Man Flint Cramden 1966-01-16
Movie Death of a Salesman Willy Loman 1966-05-07
Movie The Final Hour Judge Henry Garth 1965-05-27
Movie The Brazen Bell Judge Henry Garth 1964-03-18
Series Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre Unknown 1963-10-04
Movie Come Blow Your Horn Harry R. Baker 1963-06-05
Movie The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse Julio Madariaga 1962-02-07
Series The Virginian Richter Henry Garth 1962-09-19
Movie The Devil's Children Judge Henry Garth 1962-12-05
Movie How the West Was Won Marshal Lou Ramsey 1962-10-01
Movie Exodus Barak Ben Canaan 1960-03-27
Movie I, Don Quixote Miguel de Cervantes / Don Quixote de la Mancha / Alonso Quijana 1959-11-09
Movie The Trap Victor Massonetti 1959-01-28
Movie Green Mansions Nuflo 1959-03-19
Series The DuPont Show with June Allyson Unknown 1959-09-21
Movie But Not for Me Jeremiah MacDonald 1959-08-19
Movie The Brothers Karamazov Fyodor Karamazov 1958-02-20
Movie Man of the West Dock Tobin 1958-09-30
Movie Party Girl Rico Angelo 1958-10-28
Series Naked City Paul Delito 1958-09-30
Series Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse Unknown 1958-10-06
Movie The Garment Jungle Walter Mitchell 1957-04-25
Movie 12 Angry Men Juror 3 1957-04-10
Movie Panic Button Al Bengsten 1957-11-28
Movie The Three Faces of Eve Doctor Curtis Luther 1957-12-23
Movie The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit Judge Bernstein 1956-04-12
Movie Miami Exposé Lt. Barton 'Bart' Scott 1956-09-01
Series Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater Unknown 1956-10-05
Movie The Racers Maglio 1955-02-04
Movie The Road to Denver Jim Donovan 1955-06-15
Series Gunsmoke Unknown 1955-09-10
Movie The Left Hand of God Mieh Yang 1955-09-02
Movie Yankee Pasha Sultan 1954-04-17
Movie On the Waterfront Johnny Friendly 1954-06-22
Movie Gorilla at Large Detective Sgt. Garrison 1954-05-01
Movie Day of Triumph Zadok 1954-12-25
Series Medic Unknown 1954-09-13
Movie The Tall Texan Capt. Theodore Bess 1953-01-01
Series The Oscars Self 1953-03-18
Series General Electric Theater Unknown 1953-02-01
Movie The Fighter Durango 1952-05-23
Movie The Family Secret Howard Clark 1951-10-21
Movie Sirocco Col. Feroud 1951-06-13
Series Tales of Tomorrow Unknown 1951-08-03
Series Lux Video Theatre Unknown 1950-10-02
Movie The Man Who Cheated Himself Lieutenant Ed Cullen 1950-12-26
Series Lights Out Unknown 1949-07-19
Movie The Phantom Creeps Road Crew Foreman (uncredited) 1949-06-06
Movie Thieves' Highway Mike Figlia 1949-09-20
Movie Call Northside 777 Brian Kelly 1948-02-13
Movie The Miracle of the Bells Marcus Harris 1948-03-27
Movie The Luck of the Irish David C. Augur 1948-09-15
Movie The Dark Past Dr. Andrew Collins 1948-12-22
Series Studio One Unknown 1948-11-07
Movie Johnny O'Clock Inspector Koch 1947-01-23
Movie Captain from Castile Juan Garcia 1947-12-25
Movie Boomerang! Chief Harold F. 'Robbie' Robinson 1947-02-28
Movie Anna and the King of Siam Kralahome 1946-08-11
Movie Flight Characteristics of the P-51 Airplane Arthur Deeds 1944-03-13
Movie Winged Victory Doctor 1944-12-22
Movie The Moon Is Down Dr. Albert Winter 1943-03-14
Movie Tonight We Raid Calais Bonnard 1943-04-30
Movie The Song of Bernadette Dr. Dozous 1943-12-21
Movie Buckskin Frontier Jeptha Marr 1943-05-14
Movie Men of Boys Town Dave Morris 1941-04-11
Movie Paris Calling Captain Schwabe 1941-12-04
Movie This Thing Called Love Julio Diestro 1940-12-20
Movie The Phantom Creeps Road Crew Foreman (archive footage) 1939-01-07
Movie Golden Boy Mr. Bonaparte 1939-09-05
Movie Danger on the Air Tony Lisotti 1938-06-30
Movie North of the Rio Grande President Wooden 1937-06-28
Movie Rustlers' Valley Cal Howard 1937-07-23
Movie The Vanishing Shadow Roadwork Foreman 1934-04-22