Legendary Hollywood character and method actor Eli Wallach has died at the age of 98. The actor passed away in his New York home of natural causes.
Wallach is best known for his scene-stealing role as Tuco (the ugly) in Sergio Leone’s classic 1966 spaghetti western The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, and also as the primary antagonist in the 1960 Seven Samurai remake The Magnificent Seven, but those two performances were but a fraction of his incredible career.
After serving as a medic during World War II, the actor began his career on Broadway in 1945 and appeared in many theatrical productions, including the Tennessee Williams play The Rose Tattoo, which he won a Tony Award for in 1951.
After making his screen debut on television’s The Philco Television Playhouse in 1949 and appearing on numerous TV shows over the next handful of years, Wallach made his film debut in 1956’s Baby Doll. The role won him a BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer as well as a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor, and set into motion what would become an unforgettable film career.
From there, Wallach appeared in movies like The Misfits, How the West Was Won, The Victors, The Moon-Spinners, Lord Jim, How to Steal A Million, Ace High, Tough Guys, The Godfather Part III (playing Don Altobello), an uncredited role in his Good, the Bad and the Ugly co-star Clint Eastwood’s Mystic River, The Holiday, New York, I Love You, Tickling Leo, and many more. His final film appearance was in 2010’s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.
He continued to appear on various TV shows throughout his career as well, but it was his two-episode performance as Mr. Freeze on the late-’60s TV series Batman that Wallach says in his autobiography, The Good, the Bad, and Me: In My Anecdotage, that he got more fan mail about than all of his other roles combined.
In November of 2010, Eastwood presented Wallach with an honorary Academy Award for “a lifetime’s worth of indelible screen characters,” which Wallach fittingly gave a memorable acceptance speech for.
1915 — 2014
[Source: NY Times]