Lee J. Cobb
It's hard to think of an actor who has had important roles over three solid decades, but Lee J. Cobb definitely belongs on that list. The Russian Jewish actor grew up in the Bronx to working-class parents and made his film debut at the age of 23 in "The Vanishing Shadow." He was associated with the progressive Group Theatre and was named as a possible Communist by the House Un-American Activities Committee during the Red Scare. Cobb's bearing and dignity allowed him to play roles much older than his actual age, which was an enormous asset at the time. In amongst his massive and varied filmography, some of his most memorable roles include playing opposite Marlon Brando as union boss Johnny Friendly in Elia Kazan's 1954 "On The Waterfront"--for which he received an Academy Award nomination--as well as the third juror in Sidney Lumet's 1957 courtroom drama, "12 Angry Men," and Lieutenant Kinderman in the 1973 horror classic "The Exorcist." He also did television work, starring as Judge Henry Garth on four seasons of NBC's Western series "The Virginian." Cobb's stage career was equally storied, as he was the first to play the landmark role of Willy Loman in Arthur Miller's "Death Of A Salesman" on Broadway.