It’s the “former movie actor” part that kills me

The caption for this 1958 photo is “Patrolman Louis Romano questions former movie actor Lawrence Tierney in the West 54th Street Police Station early today. Tierney was arrested after a bruising battle with Romano and another policeman on Sixth Avenue after they had ejected him from a bar. All three were given treatment at a hospital and released.”

Some Heathen may recognize Tierney’s name, as the caption’s opinion of his career’s status turned out to be a bit off, as he worked consistently from 1943 until his death in 2002. He was in Reservoir Dogs, for example. Best of all, though, is that he’s the guy who plays Elaine’s dad in a 1991 Seinfeld episode called “The Jacket.” His character was inspired by my favorite writer:

Elaine’s father, a published author, was inspired by Richard Yates, author of Revolutionary Road, who Larry David had met while dating his daughter. Tierney’s performance as Elaine’s father was praised by the cast and crew, who intended to make Alton Benes a recurring character. However, they became frightened of Tierney when it was discovered that he stole a knife from the set.

2 thoughts on “It’s the “former movie actor” part that kills me

  1. Perhaps you’ve read the Blake Bailey bio and have thus heard Yates was NOT a fan of that Seinfeld episode. I think Mr. Tierney also was in a Simpsons episode, though not a very good one.

  2. You know, I haven’t, but I think I’d heard that. It’s not surprising; the character isn’t really Yates-like. It’s more about how David feared the idea of “girlfriend’s dad” who was a novelist and war vet.

    I didn’t like it, either, bc I hated the show. I didn’t see the ep until years later, when I sought it out because of the Yates connection.