Michael J. Pollard, ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ Actor, Dead at 80

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Michael J. Pollard in Bonnie and Clyde

The actor Michael J. Pollard, best known for his Oscar-nominated role as C.W. Moss in the classic 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde, died on Nov. 21, 2019, in Los Angeles, according to multiple online sources, each of which cited a Facebook post by musician Rob Zombie. Zombie directed the 2003 horror film, House of 1000 Corpses, that Pollard was in. Pollard, who appeared in more than 60 films, was 80. The cause was said to be cardiac arrest.

Pollard was a relative newcomer when he appeared in the Arthur Penn-directed Bonnie and Clyde, which starred Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. The film was among the first 100 selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry, according to Wikipedia.

Pollard was born Michael John Pollack Jr. on May 30, 1939, in Passaic, N.J. His first notable onscreen role came in 1959, when he appeared in an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. He appeared in other TV programs that year, including The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, and within the next few years appeared on The Andy Griffith Show and other hit series.

Watch Pollard has Barney Fife’s cousin Virgil

In 1962, Pollard made his Broadway debut in Bye Bye Birdie but he found work mostly in television, appearing in programs such as Gunsmoke, The Lucy Show and I Spy. He also appeared in the original Star Trek series in the mid-’60s, and in Lost in Space.

Pollard’s performance as Moss in Bonnie and Clyde earned him Best Supporting Actor nominations by both the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes. He lost both but did win a British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Award for Most Promising Newcomer.

Related: What were the big radio hits of August 1967, the month that Bonnie and Clyde was released?

In 1967, Pollard also appeared in Carl Reiner’s film Enter Laughing.

In 1968, as a publicity gimmick, Pollard ran for president, but the stunt was called off following the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.

Throughout the remainder of his career, Pollard found roles, mostly in B-movies, although he occasionally turned up in hit films, such as the 1988 Bill Murray vehicle Scrooged and 1990’s Dick Tracy.

Upon hearing the news of Pollard’s death, Zombie wrote, “I have always loved his work and his truly unique onscreen presence. He was one of the first actors I knew I had to work with as soon as I got my first film off the ground. He will be missed.”

Pollard had another notable music connection: He suggested to the band Traffic the title “The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys.”

Watch Pollard in a famous scene from Bonnie and Clyde

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