My family and I got to know Jack very well over the last two or three years. We spent the day with Jack and his lovely wife, Jenny, last summer and I am honored to be the last friend he went out and drank with. Jack called me the next day and in his usual, shy way proclaimed, "You know, Larry, when you drink you get interesting!"
My children stated on several occasions that Jack made the "F" word seem like it should be in Websters Dictionary. He was a salty-tongued old rascal that could find humor in anything. He was the funniest human being we have ever met. When we talked, I often dropped the phone to get my breath back.
The stories Jack regaled us with about famous actors he knew were incredible. He told a story of Gary Cooper that would bring tears to anyone's eyes. He told of the practical jokes Henry Fonda and he played on Charles Bronson during the filming of Once Upon A Time In The West. He told us of the time he bought a whorehouse in Mexico, after one drink too many, and how the production company had to buy his way out of it. I tried to do a documentary on Jack but he was starting to feel way too bad to endure it. It's sad as he had so much to share; volumes of human stories.
He wanted me to watch a video with him on his big screen TV that a friend had put together of all of his film highlights. I noticed him watching me out of the corner of his eye with that familiar "wild-eyed" smile to get my reactions. I told him it was amazing he did so many different roles. He said they were all him, each and every one. He boasted how James Stewart killed him six times in different films.
Jack loved poker but those who knew him well stayed away from his game as he had a photographic memory and could recall every card that had been played.
The world will be a less fun place without Jack Elam. We and all his other friends join together in sending our thoughts and prayers to his wonderful and loving wife, Jenny.
Goodbye, Jack, and here's one to you!
Larry and Elaine Green
|Elaine, Jenny Elam, Jack, my daughter, Tracy and myself in Jack's office at Jack's home in Ashland, Oregon last summer.|
|Elaine, Jack, my daughter, Tracy, my son, Bryan and myself after we had just come back from dinner and a funny episode with a fly. Jenny told my kids, "You know, Jack knows how to deal with flies!".|
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