OBITUARIES

'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly' Legend Eli Wallach Has Died at 98

by
June 25, 2014
Source: New York Times

Eli Wallach

Hollywood has lost another legend after being graced with a 60-year career and nearly 100 years on this Earth as The New York Times reports legendary actor Eli Wallach, star of the classic spaghetti western The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, has passed away at 98. After a stint in the army during WWII, serving five years in the Medical Corps and rising to captain, Wallach returned home to become a founding member of the Actors Studio and studied method acting with Lee Strasberg. That led to a Broadway debut in 1951, and stage time with wife Anne Jackson in plays like The Typists, The Tiger and The Diary of Anne Frank.

Wallach found plenty of acclaim on the stage with a role in Tennessee Williams’s The Rose Tattoo, for which he won a Tony Award. After that, Williams gave Wallach his first film role in Baby Doll, an adaptation of his own play 27 Wagons Full of Cotton, but he still stayed active on stage. In fact, there are dozens of plays that saw Wallach take the stage, but many audiences came to know him for his turns on the big screen, including a memorable role in the classic western The Magnificent Seven and a part as Clark Gable's sidekick in The Misfits alongside Marilyn Monroe.

Other film roles included Lord Jim, Mackenna's Gold, How to Steal a Million, Nuts, Crazy Joe, How the West Was Won and The Godfather Part III. But Wallach also left an impression on the small screen with TV movies like Skokie and Executioner's Song with Tommy Lee Jones. In addition, he made several appearances on TV series like "Kojak," "Murder, She Wrote," "LA Law," "Alfred Hitchock Presents," "Law & Order" and "ER." Wallach even ventured into comic book territory playing Mr. Freeze a couple times on the 1960s "Batman" series with Adam West.

Wallach kept on acting into the 2000s with more recent roles appearing in Mystic River, The Hoax, The Holiday, New York I Love You, The Ghost Writer and his last on-screen role in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, where he delivered a short but memorable performance. Despite a long career, Wallach never landed a nomination for an Academy Award, but in 2010, he was given an honorary Oscar where he was deemed, "the quintessential chameleon, effortlessly inhabiting a wide range of characters, while putting his inimitable stamp on every role.” Wallach's legacy will last far beyond his lifetime with a career that spans longer than some people's lives, but he will be missed. Rest in peace.

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  • Jon Odishaw
    I can't claim to be an avid fan of his but good bad and the ugly is on my top ten favs of all time and this guy is a bit reason why that movie was so great. RIP.
  • Rock n Rollllll
    Talking about living a long life. RIP buddy.
  • jay
    He lived a really full life, and im glad his legacy has seen come media celebration and his passing didnt just fly under the radar. very talented man.
  • son_et_lumiere
    from his villainous turn in The Magnificent Seven to his gentle advisory role in The Godfather III, Wallach could play them all - and did. his marvelously twitchy Tuco in The Good, The Bad... is one of those full character performances to treasure, where the actor just disappears. another legend departs: RIP, sir.
  • DAVIDPD
    Rest In Peace.
  • Nik
    "There's two kinds of people, my friend: those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig." Eli Wallach did indeed dig a path through cinema and theatre that can never be repaved. Seldom are there artists who have such endurance and loyalty to their craft. His contribution to art will surely continue to inspire creativity for another ninety-eight years and hopefully another century after that. May the Ugly rest easy.

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