Few people know that veteran movie actor Jack Palance was a professional heavyweight boxer in the early 1940s. Fighting under the name Jack Brazzo, Palance a product of Lattimer Mines, Pennsylvania, won his first 15 fights, 12 by knockout before losing a 4th round decision to future heavyweight contender Joe Baksi on Dec. 17, 1940. With the outbreak of World War II, Jack Palance's boxing career ended and his military career began. Wounded in combat, he received the purple heart, good conduct medal, and the World War II Victory Medal.
After the war he began his long and famous motion picture career mainly thanks to Elia Kazan who casted him to replace Marlon Brando and Anthony Quinn in the broadway production of A Streetcar Named Desire. Kazan gave him his break into the movies three years later for Panic in the Streets (1950).