Lawrence James Tierney (March 15, 1919 – February 26, 2002) was an American actor known for his many screen portrayals of mobsters and tough guys, roles that mirrored his own frequent brushes with the law.
Commenting on the DVD release of a Tierney film in 2005, New York Times critic David Kehr observed, "The hulking Tierney was not so much an actor as a frightening force of nature."
Tierney was born in Brooklyn, New York, son of Mary Alice Tierney (maiden name Crowley) and Lawrence Hugh Tierney, an Irish American policeman. He was a star athlete at Boys High School, winning awards for track and field and joining Omega Gamma Delta fraternity. He earned an athletic scholarship to Manhattan College but quit after two years to work as a laborer on the New York Aqueduct. He bounced around the country from job to job, working for a time as a catalogue model for Sears Roebuck & Co. After an acting coach suggested he try the stage, Tierney joined the Black Friars theatre group, moving on to the American-Irish Theatre. He was spotted there in 1943 by an RKO talent scout and given a film contract...
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