What can you tell me about the life and movies of Elisha Cook Jr., who was in “Shane” and “The Maltese Falcon”?
—Dennis Lawhorn, Truth or Consequences, N.M.
Cook, a native of San Francisco, Calif., began his career in vaudeville at 14 and debuted on Broadway in 1933. The character actor, who made more than 100 films, admits he often didn’t discriminate when it came to accepting a role. “I played rats, pimps, informers, hopheads and communists,” he once said. “I didn’t have the privilege of reading scripts. Guys called me up and said, ‘You’re going to work tomorrow.’” Among his other films were “The Big Sleep,” “The Killing,” “Rosemary’s Baby” and “House on Haunted Hill.” Cook died of a stroke in 1995 at age 91.