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Eli Wallach RIP


Richard Kimble

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http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/eli-wallach-dead-good-bad-714794

 

The character actor from Brooklyn was at his best playing banditos in that Clint Eastwood classic as well as in "The Magnificent Seven," just two highlights of his six-decade-plus career.

Eli Wallach, the enduring and artful character actor who starred as weaselly Mexican hombres in the 1960s film classics The Magnificent Seven and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, has died. He was 98. 

Wallach, who won a Tony Award in 1951 for playing Alvaro in Tennessee Williams’ original production of The Rose Tattoo, made his movie debut as a cotton-gin owner trying to seduce a virgin in Elia Kazan’s Baby Doll (1956) and worked steadily well into his nineties, died Tuesday, his daughter Katherine told The New York Times.

No other details of his death were immediately available.

“As an actor I’ve played more bandits, thieves, warlords, molesters and mafioso that you could shake a stick at,” Wallach said in November 2010 when he accepted an Honorary Academy Award at the second annual Governors Awards, becoming the oldest Oscar recipient.

Among his survivors is actress and frequent co-star Anne Jackson, his wife of 66 years.

In John SturgesThe Magnificent Seven (1960), a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 Japanese gem Seven Samurai, Wallach plays the merciless Calvera, a bandit with two gold-capped teeth whose marauders routinely raid a Mexican village for food. The pillaged recruit a veteran gunslinger (Yul Brynner) and six others, including Steve McQueen, to protect them.

Six years later, Wallach starred in his most memorable role, as the fast-talking Tuco (The Ugly) opposite Clint Eastwood (The Good) and Lee Van Cleef (The Bad) in Sergio Leone’s spaghetti Western set during the American Civil War and centered on a three-way hunt for gold buried in a cemetery.

During shooting in Spain, Wallach was almost killed when a galloping horse carried him for a considerable distance while his hands were tied behind his back. Later, Leone positioned him in the dirt, where a speeding train’s protruding iron steps missed the actor by inches. Wallach refused to do another take, a decision that surely contributed to his longevity.

The Brooklyn native also was memorable as a well-dressed hitman looking to retrieve heroin stuffed in a Japanese doll in Don Siegel’s The Lineup (1958); as **** [G-u-i-d-o is censored? Are you kidding???] in John Huston’s The Misfits opposite Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe in their final film appearances; as Audrey Hepburn’s suitor in How to Steal a Million (1966); as James Caan’s harsh boot-camp instructor in Cinderella Liberty (1973); and as a mafioso with a sweet tooth in The Godfather: Part III (1990).

The good-natured actor appeared in more than 90 films, including two released in 2010: Oilver Stone’s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and Roman Polanski’s The Ghost Writer.

On television, Wallach won an Emmy for his role as a former drug merchant who is now in the aspirin business in ABC’s Poppies Are Also Flowers, a 1966 anti-narcotics telefilm produced by the United Nations from a story by Ian Fleming. He also earned noms for his work as a blacklisted writer on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip in 2006 and as an ailing patient on Nurse Jackie three years later.

Plus, he got loads of fan mail for playing Mr. Freeze (the third actor to do so) on TV’s Batman in the 1960s.

Wallach was born on Dec. 7, 1915, the son of Polish immigrants who owned a candy store and lived in the back. He went to Erasmus Hall High School and didn’t have the grades to get into City College in New York, so he wound up at the University of Texas, where he was friends with Zachary Scott and Walter Cronkite. After graduation, he ventured back to the Big Apple and studied method acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theatre, where his fellow students included Tony Randall, Gregory Peck and Efrem Zimbalist Jr.

After serving as a medic in World War II, the 5-foot-7 Wallach returned to New York and landed his first Broadway part in 1945. Within the next few years, he rose to become a fixture on the New York stage and began doing live TV.

Noticing his stirring performance at the Martin Beck Theater in The Rose Tattoo, Kazan cast Wallach in Baby Doll, whose screenplay also was written by Williams.

With Wallach going after the virgin 19-year-old wife (Carroll Baker) of his competitor (Karl Malden), the film was condemned by the Catholic Church for being “grievously offensive to Christian and traditional standards of morality and decency.”

“They said that anyone who goes to see it is in danger of being excommunicated,” Wallach told The Times in 2010. “I said, ‘I’m Jewish, what the hell are they going to know about me?’ ”

In addition to his wife and daughter, Wallach is survived by his other children Peter and Roberta and film critic A.O. Scott, whose grandfather was Wallach’s brother.

 

 

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Really sad to hear this. Eli had a long, productive, and happy life. I worked with him about eight times. He and Annie were a joy to work with, so talented, kind, and generous. He lived about 15 blocks north of me, up on Riverside Drive in NYC, in a beautiful old Upper West Side/New York City apartment. 

 

He was very close to Tennessee Williams and Williams' sometime producer, Cheryl Crawford. Eli was the original male lead on Broadway in The Rose Tattoo and Camino Real and appeared in many plays by Williams. He met his wife, the wonderful Anne Jackson, while they were doing a small production of This Property I Condemned. Talented actor -- sweet person.

 

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This is the saddest news to me so far this year! Wallach was a wonderful actor who didn't know the meaning of the word "retirement".

 

I hope this means that in its honorary programming TCM will finally show us Wallach's delightful 1967 comedy/satire (with his wife, Anne) - 'The Tiger Makes Out'. I love that movie.

 

And, miracle of miracles, at long last a showing of Carl Foreman's legendary 'The Victors' (1963).

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I just heard the news. He was one of the finest actors to be overlooked by the Academy. He always remained humble and was completely in love with his craft, and it showed. I'm definitely going to miss him, and 98 is a huge accomplishment.

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Well, no one can say he didn't live a long, full, and ( I imagine mostly) happy life.

 

I always enjoyed his performances, there was something about him that was great fun to watch.

Even though he rarely (if ever? maybe "Baby Doll")) played leads, the way he did his character parts always made whatever film he was in better, more interesting.

 

He had a distinctive face and voice.

 

Every time I look up a movie I haven't viewed and see that Eli Wallach was in it, I usually decide to watch it, if only for him.

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He will be remembered.

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   Mr Wallach's passing is very saddening to me, but I'm glad he lived such a long life doing what he loved.

   He was one of the few actors who always made me smile when he was onscreen, even in a small role. His performance as a myopic hitman in "Tough Guys" still makes me laugh out loud, but today I'm going to watch "The Magnificent Seven".

 

   Vaya con Dios.

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Really sad to hear this. Eli had a long, productive, and happy life. I worked with him about eight times. He and Annie were a joy to work with, so talented, kind, and generous. He lived about 15 blocks north of me, up on Riverside Drive in NYC, in a beautiful old Upper West Side/New York City apartment. 

 

He was very close to Tennessee Williams and Williams' sometime producer, Cheryl Crawford. Eli was the original male lead on Broadway in The Rose Tattoo and Camino Real and appeared in many plays by Williams. He met his wife, the wonderful Anne Jackson, while they were doing a small production of This Property I Condemned. Talented actor -- sweet person.

 

 

How nice that you were able to work with them!

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May he rest in peace. It wasn't a too long a while ago I was able to finally watch "The Misfits", as I have previously known him to be a classic movie star, but also for his appearances in "The Godfather III," "Mystic River," and his endearing turn as Arthur Abbott in "The Holiday." 

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He was great in The Moon-Spinners with Hayley Mills.

 

marking the 50th anniversary of the Disney film this year

I, recently, watch a beautiful HD Blu-ray of that film.  I hadn't seen it since it was in theaters!  My favorite of his films is THE LINE-UP.

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Everything I hear about this man makes me believe he was an exceptionally nice person.

 

He most certainly was. I met him, oh it must have been back around 1980. He was in town appearing in some show at a local summer theater and came to the TV station I worked at to plug it. He chatted with everybody and was an all around nice person.

 

Shortly after the show, the crew broke for lunch and one of the guys and I went to this little sandwich shop next to the station. As we walked in, there was Eli sitting all alone in the back booth reading the paper. He looked up and spotted us and in that very distinct voice called out "Boys! Boys! Over here!".

 

We spent a full hour with him, he entertained us with  stories, but also wanted to know about us and our families. When we finally had to go back to work he grabbed the check and insisted on paying. After that hour I would have gladly treated him, but who's going to argue with Eli Wallach?

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No horses head....

 

Eli Wallace was the original choice for the role of "Maggio" in "From Here to Eternity", but turned it down so he could do Tennessee Williams play "Camio Real" directed by Elia Kazan. Frank Sinatra got the part, an Academy Award and a reboot in his career. So it was Tennessee Williams not a horses head that got Ol Blue Eyes the role...

 

Eli Wallace,He was a wonderful actor and a joy to watch in anything he did....

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He most certainly was. I met him, oh it must have been back around 1980. He was in town appearing in some show at a local summer theater and came to the TV station I worked at to plug it. He chatted with everybody and was an all around nice person.

 

Shortly after the show, the crew broke for lunch and one of the guys and I went to this little sandwich shop next to the station. As we walked in, there was Eli sitting all alone in the back booth reading the paper. He looked up and spotted us and in that very distinct voice called out "Boys! Boys! Over here!".

 

We spent a full hour with him, he entertained us with  stories, but also wanted to know about us and our families. When we finally had to go back to work he grabbed the check and inisisted on paying. After that hour I would have gladly treated him, but who's going to argue with Eli Wallach?

 

Nice story Mark.  Hearing about his death makes me sad, but he lived a long time doing what he loved to do.

 

RIP Eli Wallach.

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We spent a full hour with him, he entertained us with  stories, but also wanted to know about us and our families. When we finally had to go back to work he grabbed the check and inisisted on paying. After that hour I would have gladly treated him, but who's going to argue with Eli Wallach?

Exactly my experience with him.  He was never boastful.  Always wanting to know about you and yours.  Such a wonderful person.

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I too lament the passing of such a great actor. He also lends some fine support to Steve McQueen in The Hunter. I hope tcm will air The Tiger Makes Out where he plays a disgruntled mailman who kidnaps Anne Jackson...but of course he will always be chiefly remembered by so many for his unforgettable portrayal of the one and only very colorful Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramerez known as the rat.

 

 

 

 

 

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sad news.

 

i am impressed with Eli Wallach's range as an actor. a different nationality? got it down pat. bad guy? down pat, again. good guy? ah, angelic perfection! the guy could do anything.

 

if and when TCM schedules a tribute (which is a no-brainer in Wallach's case), care should be taken to feature his diversified roles. two features not shown yet on TCM come to mind: The Executioner's Song (1982) and The Victors (1963).

 

his ability to bring intensity to a part will be missed.

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