Screen’s First Mike Hammer, Biff Elliot, 89

Biff Elliot, the silver screen’s first incarnation of hardboiled detective Mike Hammer, died this past Wednesday, August 15 at his home in Studio City, CA. He was 89.

An amateur boxer who served as an infantry man during World War Two, Elliot had the perfect background to play Mickey Spillane’s tough guy private eye Mike Hammer in 1953’s I, The Jury. The film was shot in 3D by Creature From The Black Lagoon director Harry Essex and released at the height of the 1950s 3D craze. The film was based on Spillane’s 1947 novel where the character debuted.

Elliot also appeared in such films as Good Morning Miss Dove (1955), Sam Fuller’s House of Bamboo (1955), Nicholas Ray’s The True Story Of Jesse James (1957), Pork Chop Hill (1959) PT 109 (1963), Brainstorm (1965) and Blood Bath (1966). A friendship with Jack Lemmon helped the actor land roles in the films Kotch (1971, directed by Lemmon), Billy Wilder’s remake of The Front Page (1974) and Blake Edwards’ That’s Life! (1986).

About Rich Drees 6757 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty years experience writing about film and pop culture.
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