Biff Elliott, who starred as the tough-guy P.I. Mike Hammer in the 1953 film I, The Jury, passed away Wednesday at age 89. He was born Leon Shalek in Lynn, Massacusetts, the son of a former semi-pro baseball player. A talented boxer as a youth, he was slated to appear in the New England Regional championships until his mother found out and put a stop to his nascent boxing career. Following a stint in the Army during World War II, he set out to be a writer; failing that, he turned to acting. Among his other movie credits were Kotch, The Enemy Below, and the Lemmon-Matthau version of The Front Page, as well as the Mamie Van Doren vehicle The Navy vs. Night Monsters. Among his many television credits were episodes of Star Trek, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Planet of the Apes, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
But for many of us, he will always be Mike Hammer.