Another long and varied career with a lot of bullseyes. Interested in seeing some of his early 50's swashbuckling adventures again to see him move on screen. THE PROFESSIONALS is solid entertainment with Lee Marvin, Robert Ryan, and Woody Strode and Jack Palance as the bad guy. A classic guy film.
I believe Burt had a college basketball scholarship coming out of high school but got knifed in a fight in the school locker room. He never did play college ball as he got into acrobatics during his recovery period.
I've seen that story a few places about Burt Lancaster and Jack Palance getting into a real fight during a screen fight but I think it might actually be Robert Mitchum and Jack Palance. I think Palance and Lancaster only worked on "The Professionals" together and didn't really have a fistfight scene (might have been something left on the editing room floor though). From the details of the fight I'm pretty sure it's Mitchum though, a story that used to show up in print quite a bit.
When Mitchum and Palance were making the film "Second Chance" back in the early 50's the stuntmen warned Mitchum that Palance was a Method Actor and liked to get carried away in fight scenes. Sure enough, Palance clocked Mitchum for real and put him on his back. Mitchum wasn't one to take things like that lightly and when they resumed filming he moved in and slugged Palance hard in his gut. Mitchum claimed over the years that Palance lost his lunch on his shoulder and they didn't have any further incidents while making the fight.
There's another story of Mitchum and Palance on location in Mexico getting into a big restaurant brawl after Palance pushed a Mexican General. Guns were drawn and fired as Mitchum got his wife out the door and Palance got out through the kitchen. Pro boxer turned actor Able Fernandez was left to fend off the soldiers and lived to tell about it. The heat was such on Palance at the time that the studio had to get him back to the states for fear he'd be killed. Mitchum liked to tell that story a lot too and it probably got embellished quite a bit along the way. Mitchum was a tough guy who could back up pretty much anything, but he also liked to amuse himself telling stories to reporters.