Volodymyr Palahniuk was born in Pennsylvania to Ukrainian immigrants. He came from a hardworking family and worked in the coal mines at a young age. In the 1930’s he became a professional boxer and fought under the name Jack Brazzo. He would ultimately settle on the name Jack Palance for his acting career.
At the onset of World War 2, Jack enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces and began training as a bomber pilot in San Antonio, Texas. He was wounded in action when his plane crashed and he suffered injuries and burns. Jack was awarded the Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal, and the World War 2 Victory Medal.
After he was discharged from the military, Jack enrolled at Stanford University to study journalism. He quit college one credit shy of graduation to pursue acting. He would go on to be nominated for 3 Academy Awards during his half century long career, including winning one for Best Supporting Actor for his role as “Curly” in City Slickers.
Watch Jack’s memorable acceptance speech…