Michael J. Pollard, the character actor best known as gas station clerk C.W. Moss in Bonnie and Clyde (1967), died Wednesday at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. He was 80.
The pug-nosed thesp was born in Passaic, New Jersey, on May 30, 1939. He studied acting as a member of the Actors Studio, making his TV debut 61 years ago on the show Omnibus (1958), following it with two appearances on Alfred Hitchcock Presents (both 1959).
He continued on several early-TV shows, including The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (1959), The Andy Griffith Show (1962), Route 66 (1963), Gunsmoke (1964), Honey West (1965), Lost in Space (1966) and Star Trek (1966), and originated the role of Hugo Peabody in the original Broadway production of Bye Bye Birdie (1960).
He nearly became a Disney staple, but only wound up appearing in Summer Magic (1963).
His performance in Bonnie and Clyde earned him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination in a film for which Estelle Parsons (b. 1927) won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
One of his better-known TV appearances was as Mr. Mxyzptlk on two episodes of 1989's Superboy.
Other films he was known for include Little Fauss and Big Halsy (1970), Melvin and Howard (1980), Roxanne (1987) and Dick Tracy (1990); he played Bug Bailey for his Bonnie and Clyde co-star, director Warren Beatty (b. 1937), in the latter (pictured at right). He continued working on TV and in films until several years ago, logging a big role in the horror favorite House of 1,000 Corpses (2003) before mostly retiring in 2012. According to IMDb, he had completed work on a final film at the time of his death, and had been preparing to make another.
Pollard, who struggled with substance abuse for many years ahead of sobriety in the '80s, was married (1961-1969) to actress Beth Howland (1941-2015), but never remarried after their divorce.
Yes, Michael J. Fox took his fictitious middle initial from Pollard.