Elisha Cook Jr. (born December 26, 1903 in San Francisco, California, USA, died May 18, 1995 in Big Pine, California) made a career playing cowardly villains and neurotics earning the nickname "Hollywood's lightest heavy". Cook started out in vaudeville and then became a Broadway actor. In 1936 he settled in Hollywood and, after playing a series of college-aged parts, began a long stint playing weaklings or sadistic loser-hoods: In Universal's Phantom Lady, he portrays a slimy, intoxicated nightclub-orchestra drummer. Other notable roles include the wannabe gangster in The Maltese Falcon, "pug ugly" Marty Waterman in Born to Kill (1947) , Harry Jones in The Big Sleep (1946) and George Peatty, the hen-pecked husband to Marie Windsor, in Stanley Kubrick's The Killing (1956). His acting career spanned over sixty years.
Cook played a private detective in a 1953 episode of The Adventures of Superman TV series titled Semi-Private Eye. In the series DVD commentary, Jack Larson describes this as his favorite episode, both for being allowed to play a self-styled Humphrey Bogart-style shamus, and for the chance to work with "Cookie", who became a good friend.
He played Samuel T. Cogley on Star Trek - Court Martial (TOS episode).
Cook also had a long-term recurring role as Icepick on Magnum, P.I..
It's been said that Cook has been directed by more successful directors than any other actor:
1982: Wim Wenders (Hammett) 1979: Steven Spielberg (1941) 1979: Tobe Hooper (Salem's Lot) 1979: Franco Zeffirelli (The Champ) 1976: J. Lee Thompson (St. Ives) 1973: Robert Aldrich (Emperor of the North Pole) 1973: Sam Peckinpah (Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid) 1973: James William Guercio's only direction (Electra Glide in Blue) 1968: Roman Polanski (Rosemary's Baby) 1966: Richard Donner ("The Wild, Wild West" episode "Bars of Hell") 1963: Roger Corman (The Haunted Palace) 1961: Marlon Brando's only direction (One-Eyed Jacks) 1960: John Cassavetes ("Johnny Staccato" episode "Solomon") 1959: William Castle (House on Haunted Hill) 1957: Don Siegel (Baby Face Nelson) 1956: Stanley Kubrick (The Killing) 1953: George Stevens (Shane) 1947: Robert Wise (Born to Kill) 1946: Howard Hawks (The Big Sleep) 1946: Busby Berkeley (Cinderella Jones) 1941: John Huston (The Maltese Falcon) 1938: John Ford (Submarine Patrol) 1937: Otto Preminger (Danger-Love at Work) 1937: Mervyn LeRoy (They Won't Forget)