TNC Archive 2014
Dec 26, 2023
Alongside the trades, cosplayers, and preview presentations there are the actors, producers and writers who have helped shape our fantasy worlds for generations. Getting any opportunity to chat with boxer and actor Jack O’Halloran was truly an early highlight of the comic con. O’Halloran is gentle and giving and is part of the reason why so many thousands of people head to conventions like this. Meeting someone who has portrayed such iconic roles such as ‘Non’ in the first two ‘Superman’ movies and 'Emil Muzz' in ‘Dragnet’ was an honour.
It’s the first day of MCM Comic Con, what does it feel like to be here with your work?
Jack O’Halloran: It’s terrific. These kinds of shows are great. We do the Comic Cons in San Diego and they get 150-200,000 people which is kind of amazing when you get down to it.
Do you ever get nervous about appearing at huge events like this?
JO: No (shakes his head and smiles).
So now it just goes over your head the amount of people that come to Cons like this?
JO: Na, I’ve boxed in front of 100,000 people and I’ve played football in front of 100,000 people and I’ve done a lot of films over the years.
What have been some of your personal career highlights?
JO: I think that working with Sharon and Margo...people from films I’ve worked on, Getting together and doing shows like this is fun. I only wish that Robert Mitchum was still around but he’s not. I’ve been very fortunate in my career to work with a lot great talent and doing these shows brings memories back of all the things I’ve done in my career. It’s all good.
If you had to choose one of your favourite film roles which one would it be?
JO: My favourite movie is ‘Farewell, My Lovely’ (Moose Malloy) and then ‘Superman’ (Non), I had a lot of fun doing ‘Superman’. ‘Dragnet’ (Emil Muzz) was a good picture, I’ve never really done a bad picture, every picture I’ve done has great memories to them. They’ve all be well made pictures, ‘King Kong’ (Joe Perko) was a good picture and I’ve done a couple of pictures that didn’t get the acclaim that the others have but doing them was a lot of fun...was thrilling in my life. So I’ve never really had a bad experience in film.
You started your career out as a boxer how did you get into acting?
JO: They came to me, or started coming to me in the 1960s. Steve McQueen was a good friend of mine and I had just started my boxing career in Boston and he had just done the ‘Thomas Crown Affair’ and wanted me to come do the movie and head off to Hollywood with him but I just wasn’t ready for it. Then they wanted me to do ‘The Great White Hope’ with James Earl Jones and I had just knocked out the heavyweight champion of the world and I told them “I don’t think I am ready for this”.
When I retired from boxing they came back to me so it’s all Mitchums fault.
What do you hope people take away from your work?
JO: I hope I was capable of giving something out of each picture. When I did ‘Superman’ I had so many people come up to me and say “wow. You where the greatest villain we’ve ever seen”. I did a child like thing, someone had to relate to children. Jackie Gleeson did a film called ‘Gigot’ (1962) playing a mute and I thought if I ever get a chance to do that I would really want to try it. To be able to do something with body language and facial expressions was something I wanted to do and I got that opportunity with ‘Superman’ which worked extremely well.
"I learned something early on and I asked him what the definition of a star was and he said ‘that’s a foolish word it is a word called presence.’"
And finally what has been the best advice that you’ve been given?
JO: When I first started the producer that hired me went and saw the dailies for the first time and grabbed hold of me and say ‘You lied to me you told me you’d never worked before.’ I said ‘You hired me I said I’d never done anything before’ and he said ‘I got to tell you kid you’re going to be a star. What I saw was brilliant.’ So I went back to Mitchum and said ‘maybe I should take some elocution lessons, go to UCLA and take some acting lessons...’ and he laughed and he said ‘stick with me kid you’ll either run them or they’ll ruin you, just do what you’re doing.’
And he was a great teacher Mitchum took me by the hand and showed me the things that I needed to do. I learned something early on and I asked him what the definition of a star was and he said ‘that’s a foolish word it is a word called presence.’ When someone sees you on the screen they know who you are. You can see Marlon Brando in a 100 movies and every time you come out of the theatre you’ll be saying Brando did this great or Brando did that great. And then you see another actor, someone like William Holden, a good actor but don’t have the presence for you to walk out and say “what a great role that guy played, what’s his name?”
That’s what this whole thing is about, what kind of presence you put out and I am really glad that I was gifted this that ability to leave something for people.