'Joe Buck' Stops Here
Voight's big break came in 1969 when he was cast to co-star with Dustin Hoffman in "Midnight Cowboy," which was acclaimed by critics and audiences. The newcomer was cast as "Joe Buck," a Texas cowboy who moves to New York City hoping to make his fortune as a hustler servicing rich Park Avenue women and forms a strange friendship with a sickly drifter.
Voight was honored for his bittersweet portrayal with an Oscar nomination, though he lost to John Wayne. The film, however, earned three awards, including Best Picture.
Voight followed that with a small role in "Catch-22." Three years later he gave another compelling performance in "Deliverance," as one of four friends - Burt Reynolds, Ronny Cox, Ned Beatty co-starred - on a canoe trip in Georgia that goes awry.
Perhaps Voight's greatest role was as a disabled, disgruntled Vietnam War veteran in 1978's, "Coming Home" opposite Jane Fonda. Voight's outstanding performance earned him his first Oscar. His next role came in the 1979 remake of "The Champ," opposite Ricky Schroder.
In the last decade Voight has had memorable roles in such films as "Heat," with Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro, the first big screen treatment of "Mission: Impossible," with Tom Cruise, followed by roles in "Anaconda" and "John Grisham's The Rainmaker" for which he received a Golden Globe nomination.
Fans of the television sitcom "Seinfeld," remember Voight for a brief guest appearance in an episode when he bites a bothersome Kramer on the arm and George thinks he purchased the actor's used Dodge. Neil S. Friedman