Born: 4 November 1913
Died: 19 October 1978 (suicide)
Birthplace: St. Cloud, Minnesota
Best known as: Oscar-winner from They Shoot Horses, Don't They?
Name at birth: Byron Ellsworth Barr
Gig Young was a career supporting player who won an Oscar late in his career for the 1969 film They Shoot Horses, Don't They? He took the stage name Gig Young after playing a character by that name in the movie The Gay Sisters (1942). After serving in World War II, Gig became a reliable supporting player in the movies, earning Oscar nominations for Come Fill The Cup (1951) and Teacher's Pet (1958). Young had alcohol and marital problems, and his career began to wane in the 1960s, but he rallied to win the best supporting actor Oscar as an abrasive dance marathon emcee in They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (with Jane Fonda). Young killed his fifth wife and then himself with a pistol in 1978.
Extra credit: Among Young's five wives was actress Elizabeth Montgomery, star of TV's Bewitched; they were married from 1956-63... Young was originally cast as the lead in Blazing Saddles, but was replaced by Gene Wilder.
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