I've known Jack since our schoolyard days in Queens in the 1940's. We both got out of the service about the same time, and with a neighborhood friend, John McComb, who had a cameo role at 16 in On the Waterfront, we enrolled at Stella Adler's in May 1958. On the first day, though my exposure to Stella Adler can be measured in minutes, one thing she said that cold rainy morning has remained with me. She said that all of us would soon discover, as some of you may already have, that life has a way of beating us down, crushing our souls, but that art will reminds us that we have a soul. I passed on the beat down and quit on the second day and went on to college and law school.
Jack and John stayed with it and it was difficult for them as it was for all aspiring actors in New York in the 1950's. John had small parts in a number of movies and on television went on to sports production in television. Jack worked odd jobs while studying acting. He was selling soda in Broadway theaters and bar tending. He never gave up and soon enough his talent was discovered and he thrived. He was choosy about his roles and not about money. To Jack, acting was a craft and not route to riches. We talked often over the years and I saw him frequently on my business trips to the west coast. He never lost his sense of direction or his moral compass, always sticking to his principles. He also had a wonderful anchor in Sherri Smith these last 40 years.
Neal P. Gillen