Emile G. Meyer

Active - 1950 - 1977  |   Born - in New Orleans, LA  |   Died - Mar 19, 1987 in Covington, LA  |   Genres - Western, Drama, Crime, Action

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American actor Emile G. Meyer had the squat, sinister features that consigned him nearly exclusively to western villains. Still, he was a good enough actor to transcend the stereotype, and audiences often found themselves understanding if not approving of his perfidy. The Meyer performance that most quickly comes to mind is in the movie Shane (1953), in which he played Ryker, the wealthy landowner who hires gunman Jack Palance to force the homesteaders off his turf. At first glance a two-dimensional baddie, Meyer delivers a heartfelt speech in which he bemoans the fact that pioneers like himself had to fight and die for their land, only to watch as outsiders rode in to stake claims on territory they hadn't truly earned. By the time Meyer is finished, half the audience is inclined towards his side, villain or no! In addition to his acting work, Emile G. Meyer also wrote TV and movie scripts. On that subject, Meyer was given to complaining in public as to how the old-boy network of Hollywood producers tended to freeze out any writer without a long list of screenplay credits -- and he complained as eloquently and persuasively as he had as Ryker in Shane (1953).

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