Lee J. Cobb (December 8, 1911 – February 11, 1976) was an American actor. He is probably best known for creating the role of Willy Loman in Arthur Miller's 1949 play Death of a Salesman under the direction of Elia Kazan. It is widely considered to be his best performance, and one of the greatest performances ever on the American stage. Character actor Robert F. Simon, Cobb's understudy, replaced him in the Willy Loman role.
Born Leon Jacob to a Jewish family in New York City, Cobb studied at New York University before making his film debut in The Vanishing Shadow (1934). He joined the Manhattan-based left wing Group Theatre in 1935.
Cobb entered films in the 1930s, long before he ever played Willy Loman. He was cast as the Kralahome in the 1946 non-musical film Anna and the King of Siam. He also played the sympathetic doctor in The Song of Bernadette, and appeared as James Coburn's supervisor in the spy spoofs In Like Flint and Our Man Flint. He reprised his role of Willy Loman in the 1966 CBS television adaptation of Death of a Salesman, which included actors Gene Wilder, Bernie Kopell, and George Segal. Cobb was nominated for an Emmy Award for the performance. Mildred Dunnock, who had co-starred in both the original stage version and the 1951 film version, again repeated her role as Linda, Willy's devoted wife.