“Irish” Jack O’Halloran – From Boxer to Hollywood Actor!
By: Ken Hissner
Jack “The Giant” O’Halloran was born in Philadelphia and though ending up in Runnemede, NJ, for the most part before returning to Philadelphia now at age 73. At 6:06 he was one of the tallest boxers from 1966 to 1974. In his second bout and the first in Philadelphia he stopped Bob Hazelton who was 6:07 in the first round. After leaving the Philadelphia area after 4 fights he moved onto the Boston area to continue his career.
O’Halloran was 15-0-1 in his first 16 fights but ended up 34-21-2 (17) after stepping up with the likes of George Foreman, Ken Norton, Mac Foster, Joe Bugner, Cleveland Williams, Al “Blue” Lewis and Ron Lyle. He defeated Williams and Lewis. He also defeated the brother of Muhammad Ali Rahman Ali. He defeated world title challengers Terry Daniels and Manuel Ramos.
“Ali called me up and said you are fighting my brother Rahman. He is embarrassing me so I want you to make sure he never fights again”. O’Halloran knocked him out in the 8th round in San Diego. It was the last time the 14-3-1 Ali ever fought again and the first time he was ever knocked out.
O’Halloran came close to fighting Muhammad Ali 3 or 4 times. He claims “Smokin” Joe Frazier would not spar with him or contender Leotis Martin. When I took the Lewis fight on short notice.
When his trainer Manny Steward came into the gym and saw me spar I heard him say “I think we are in trouble” and they were. He said the hardest he was ever hit was by Cleveland “Big Cat” Williams though he went on to win a decision.
O’Halloran fought 4 times in the UK defeating Danny McAlindin, 11-0, who also defeated Ali’s brother. He beat Welsh boxer Carl Gizzi, 30-4, lost to Bugner, 15-1, and Jack Bodell, 54-10. He lost to Joe Roman, 18-5-1, in PR and drew with Jimmy Richards, 5-0-1, in South Africa.
O’Halloran was inducted into the California Hall of fame in 2009. He held the California State title. He was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2014. He retired from boxing in 1974 to start his acting career in 1975. He played ex-convict Moose Malloy in the 1975 film “Farewell, My Lady”, featuring Robert Mitchum as private eye Philip Marlowe. He appeared in “King Kong” in 1976, “March or Die” in 1977, “Superman” in 1978, “The Baltimore Bullet”, in 1980, “Superman II” in 1980, Dragnet” in 1987, “Hero and the Terror” in 1988, “Mob Boss” in 1990, and the “Flintstones” in 1994.
O’Halloran also appeared in TV programs like “Diagnosis Murder” on CBS 1993-2001 and “Perry Mason: the Case of the Defiant Daughter” on NBC 1990-1991. Then there was “Cannon”, “Hunter”, “Murder, She Wrote” and “Knight Rider”. He produced “The List” (Freeform) 2006-2007.
In 1969 O’Halloran knocked out Manuel Ramos in L.A. and was a ranked contender when he was offered a part in “The Great White Hope” with James Earl Jones and turned it down due to his boxing career. As recently as 2010 O’Halloran became a best-selling author with his novel “Family Legacy”.
Per NJ BHOF President Henry Hascup in November of 2014 O’Halloran was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame. There were approximately 550 people there for their 45th Induction. It was the largest crowd since 1989.