R.I.P. Michael J. Pollard, who played both the cousin of Barney Fife and the cousin of Maynard G. Krebs

The "Cousin Virgil" actor also inspired the screen name of Michael J. Fox. He was 80 years old.

Michael J. Pollard passed away on November 22, 2019. The news was broken by Rob Zombie, the Halloween (2007) and Devil's Rejects director, in a Facebook post.

Zombie worked with Pollard in his 2000 cult classic House of 1000 Corpses. However, many others remember Pollard for his earlier work in classic TV and movies.

Pollard was nominated for an Oscar for his role in the 1967 movie Bonnie and Clyde as C.W. Moss. In 1988, he played Herman, a homeless man who teaches the main character about the value of life, in the Bill Murray Christmas Carol adaptation Scrooged.

Pollard on 'Dobie Gillis' and 'Star Trek'

He made appearances in several classic TV shows. In The Andy Griffith Show, he was cast as Virgil, Barney Fife's socially inept but talented cousin. He may spill meat in Andy's lap, but he can pick a lock and tell "a good crab joke."

On The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, he was Jerome Krebs, the cousin of Maynard G. Krebs. Pollard's character was meant to replace Maynard on the show after Bob Denver was drafted into the Army. However, once Denver failed the physical and returned to the series, Pollard's character was written out.

Perhaps one of his most iconic roles was on the first-season Star Trek episode "Miri."

"Miri" revolves around a planet where every adult has been brought down by a deadly disease and the children have formed their own community ruled by violence. Pollard plays Jahn, the leader of the children who rules with an iron fist. Star Trek fans will remember the eerily-chanted phrase "bonk, bonk on head," as Jahn urges the children to attack Kirk. It is also interesting to note that this episode was filmed on the Mayberry set.

Pollard also had another significant influence in Hollywood — he inspired the middle initial of Michael J. Fox. The Back to the Future star, born Michael Andrew Fox, needed to distinguish himself from Michael Fox, an actor seen in many Westerns on MeTV. As Fox wrote in his 2002 memoir Lucky Man: A Memoir, "I remembered one of my favorite character actors, Michael J. Pollard, the guileless accomplice in Bonnie and Clyde…. I stuck in the J, which I sometimes tell people stands for either Jenuine, or Jenius."

Pollard created a rich filmography and legacy and will be remembered fondly by fans from all backgrounds, from classic to TV to his work on horror and holiday films. He was 80 years old.

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Wiseguy 16 days ago
"...Michael Fox, an actor seen in many Westerns on MeTV."

Michael Fox also made 25 appearances throughout the run of another MeTV series, Perry Mason, in which he usually played the coroner/autopsy surgeon testifying in court, often identified as Dr. Hoxie.
CarrieMcCourt 17 days ago
What sad news for Thanksgiving. He was such a favorite of mine. I had a big crush on him when I was younger.
Tresix 19 days ago
Reunited with Warren Beatty in “Dick Tracy”, played the mischievous Mr. Mxyzptlk on “Superboy”.
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BuckRogers 20 days ago
Another alumni of Rob Zombies’s “House of 1,000 Corpses” is gone. Sid Haig, Karen Black, Matthew McGrory, Dennis Fimple, etc., we’re picked by Zombie because he knew of these actors’ contribution to Hollywood, whether B-Movie Star, blaxploitation Star, or lead Character Actor. Rob Zombie should be praised for bringing these talented actors out of retirement and obscurity and into the mainstream of Hollywood and cinematic history, which they richly deserve. Thank you, Mr. Pollard, for your contribution to mainstream TV and cinema. We know who you are, and we thank you for your work.
identical1 20 days ago
How about his being in "Tango & Cash"?
gracie200 20 days ago
He was also in a motorcycle movie in 1970 called Little Fauss & Big Halsey.....Pollard was Fauss - Robert Redford was Big Halsey.
Popups 20 days ago
He also appeared on Lost in Space.
Donnalue57 Popups 20 days ago
Remember this episode well....my favorite..made me sad.....no reflection.
Marisol 20 days ago
Michael J. Pollard also appeared with Hailey Mills and Deborah Walley in the movie Summer Magic.
Astronerd 21 days ago
Pollard was also in "The Wild Angels" (1966) with Peter Fonda, Nancy Sinatra, Bruce Dern, Diane Ladd, Norman Alden, Frank Maxwell, and Frank Gerstle.
Nesa 21 days ago
I really liked him on the Episode of lost in Space “Boy in the Mirror” or was it just called “Mirror”? He was in a magical Mirror that Penny went through to another realm and met him. It was my favorite episode. He was so cute with her. It was sad when she came back from shooting her reflection in a pool with a special gun and thought he could follow. Little did she know, he couldn’t leave. He had no reflection. It was touching and sad.
Signalstat 21 days ago
Loved cousin virgil from New Jersey.
Chas53 21 days ago
I remember him as a cousin who comes to visit on "The Bailey's of Balboa". He was a quirky genius who was dubbed "The Brain".
Chloe 21 days ago
He also was in Irwin Allen's Production of, "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" feature film as a Congressman visiting the Seaview.
cperrynaples Chloe 21 days ago
Are you sure about that one? He was only 21 when that movie was made and he always looked younger than he really was!
Moody Chloe 21 days ago
He was never in Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, the movie or tv series. I believe you're thinking of Howard McNear, aka Floyd on the Andy Griffith Show.
Bobbie 22 days ago
i really liked him, he was sooo funny!
George 22 days ago
I remember when he played the title role in the Steve "Grandpa" Kozara story. He nailed it. RIP my friend
KathyMcKinny 22 days ago
Awww, Cousin Virgil was a favorite of mine. Also did you all know he was married to Beth Howland, who played the dingy Vera on Alice?? She was the one in the intro that sprayed STRAWS everywhere!
Didn't know that, but I knew she later married Charles Kimbaugh from Murphy Brown! At her request, he didn't announce her death until after her memorial service!
JimB 22 days ago
I thought he died years ago. Early 2000's I believe.
cperrynaples JimB 22 days ago
No, he was alive, but no one wanted to hire him!
Moody cperrynaples 21 days ago
And you know this for a fact or are you just speculating? I'm not saying you're wrong but according to IMDB he did have a few roles up until 2012. I can't find any reference to your claim though.
cperrynaples Moody 20 days ago
Well, most of those are minor credits! House of 1000 Corpses was his last major title! I suppose his age made him non-insureable! Nevertheless, he still had a pretty good run, and MeTV should do a tribute block!
George cperrynaples 23 hours ago
I heard he would eat all the food on the Kraft food trucks & pissed off the rest of actors. It's a theory, probably wrong.
cperrynaples George 8 hours ago
You mean craft food trucks! A Kraft food truck would only have Velveda and Mac & Cheese...LOL!!
Jeremy 22 days ago
The moment I saw his thumbnail on this website, I said to himself, "He's dead, isn't he?" Yeah, I've heard of him and his passing is really quite sad. I wish the very best for his family and friends.
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