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Learning English - Words in the News
 
13 November, 2006 - Published 16:43 GMT
 
Jack Palance dies aged 87
 
A veteran US actor who was the son of Ukrainian immigrants
The late Jack Palance

The actor Jack Palance has died at his home in California at the age of eighty-seven. He was nominated for an Oscar for the 1950s thriller 'Sudden Fear' but finally won an Oscar in 1992 for his part in the comedy 'City Slickers'. The BBC's Peter Bowes reports from Los Angeles:

Listen to the story

With his chiselled face and calm deep voice, Jack Palance had a formidable screen presence. A former boxer, he got his break as an actor when he replaced Marlon Brando in the Broadway production of 'A Streetcar Named Desire'. The show's director, Elia Kazan, then chose him to play Blackie, a murderer in the film 'Panic in the Streets'.

Jack Palance received three Oscar nominations; two in the 1950s for the classic western 'Shane' and the film noir thriller 'Sudden Fear'. He finally won the award in 1992 for his role as the cowboy Curly in 'City Slickers'. It was during Palance's acceptance speech that he pulled his most famous stunt of all; he dropped to the ground and performed one-armed push-ups. Backstage, he was asked why:

(JACK PALANCE):

"When I saw all these cameras down there looking at me, I thought, my God, you might win -- what the hell are you gonna do and when I left home a while ago, there I was on the floor doing a bunch of push-ups and so it seems like they've become part of my life ..."

Jack Palance often distanced himself from mainstream Hollywood. He once said most of the stuff he did was garbage and that most of the directors he'd worked with were incompetent.

Peter Bowes, BBC news, Los Angeles

Listen to the words

chiselled face
a man's face with deep lines and strong features (nose, mouth, chin etc.) which look as though they've been very carefully carved from stone or wood

a formidable screen presence
he appeared powerful, sometimes frightening and deserving of respect whenever he was seen in a film

boxer
a professional sportsperson who fights by only using the fists, for example, Muhammed Ali

break
opportunity or chance to do something

film noir
a stylish-looking crime drama usually filmed in black and white during the 1940s t0 1950s (translated: black film)

stunt
an exciting and usually dangerous action that's performed for the public to see

one-armed push-ups
an excerise where someone lays face down on the ground and keeping their back straight, raises and lowers their body by using the strength of just one of their arms

distanced himself from
kept away from, didn't get involved with

garbage
an American word for rubbish

incompetent
unable and not skilled enough to do their task or job properly

 
 
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