After attending Charleston (Illinois) Teachers College and New York University, bearded, burly Burl Ives played pro football, then traversed the country as an itinerant handyman. His gifts as a guitarist and balladeer enabled Ives to secure radio work in the 1940s: one of his earliest series was titled, appropriately enough, The Wayfaring Stranger. A natural-born actor, Ives made his screen debut in 1946's Smoky. Throughout the rest of his career, there were two Burl Ives. The twinkly-eyed, grandfatherly Ives was the fellow who provided comedy relief in such films as Summer Magic (1963) and The Brass Bottle (1964), who starred in the easygoing culture-clash TV sitcom OK Crackerby (1965) who played the gruff-but-avuncular senior attorney on the weekly series The Bold Ones: The Lawyers (1969), and who recorded such song hits as "Itty Bitty Tear," "My Funny Way of Laughing" and that inescapable Holiday perennial, "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas." Then there was the "other" Burl Ives: the shark-eyed, intimidating, domineering patriarch who portrayed Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) and Ephraim Cabot in Desire Under the Elms (1959) and who won an Academy Award for his chilling portrayal of a mean-for-the-hell-of-it land baron in The Big Country (1958).