Eli Wallach

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Eli Herschel Wallach
Actor, Comedian
 american, jew
Set cemetery

Eli Herschel Wallach (December 7, 1915 – June 24, 2014) was an American film, television and stage actor whose career spanned more than six decades, beginning in the late 1940s. For his performance as Silva Vacarro in Baby Doll, he won a BAFTA Award for Best Newcomer and a Golden Globe nomination. Among his most famous roles are Calvera in The Magnificent Seven (1960), Guido in The Misfits (1961), and Tuco in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966).

Eli Wallach ● A Simple Tribute

Other notable portrayals include Don Altobello in The Godfather Part III, Cotton Weinberger in The Two Jakes (both 1990), and Arthur Abbott in The Holiday (2006). One of America's most prolific screen actors, Wallach remained active well into his nineties, with roles as recently as 2010 in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and The Ghost Writer.

Wallach received BAFTA Awards, Tony Awards and Emmy Awards for his work, and received an Honorary Academy Award at the 2nd AnnualGovernors Awards, presented on November 13, 2010.

Early life

Wallach was born in Red Hook, Brooklyn at 156 Union St., the son of Polish Jewish immigrants Bertha (née Schorr) and Abraham Wallach. They were the only Jewish family in an otherwise predominantly Italian Americanneighborhood. His parents owned Bertha's, a candy store. Wallach graduated in 1936 from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in history and in 1938 received a masters degree in education from the City College of New York. He gained his first Method experience at theNeighborhood Playhouse School of Theatre in New York City. While attending the University of Texas, Wallach performed in a play with fellow students Ann Sheridan and Walter Cronkite.

Wallach served as a United States Army staff sergeant in a military hospital in Hawaii during World War II. He was soon sent to Officer Candidate School (OCS) in Abilene, Texas to train as a medical administrative officer. He graduated as a Second Lieutenant and was sent to Madison Barracks in upstate New York. He was promptly shipped to Casablanca and, later in the war, to France. It was there that a superior discovered his acting history and asked him to form a show for the patients. He and other members from his unit wrote a play called Is This the Army?, which was inspired by Irving Berlin's This Is the Army. In the comedic play, Wallach and the other men clowned around as various dictators, with Wallach portraying Adolf Hitler, the leader of Nazi Germany.


Wallach took classes in acting at the Dramatic Workshop of the New School in New York with the influential German director Erwin Piscator. Later, he attended the Actors Studio from its inception; there, he studied acting with founding member Robert Lewis, alongside Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, Herbert Berghof, and Sidney Lumet, and his soon-to-be wife, Anne Jackson.[10] Wallach made his Broadway debut in 1945 and won a Tony Award in 1951 for his performance in the Tennessee Williams play The Rose Tattoo. Additional theater credits include Mister RobertsThe Teahouse of the August MoonCamino RealMajor BarbaraLuv, and Staircase, co-starring Milo O'Shea, which was a serious depiction of an aging homosexual couple. He also played a role in a tour of Antony and Cleopatra, produced by the actress Katharine Cornell in 1946 He last starred on stage as the title character in Visiting Mr. Green.

Wallach's film debut was in Elia Kazan's controversial 1956 Baby Doll, and he went on to a prolific career in films, although rarely in a starring role. Other early films include The LineupThe Misfits with Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe, The Magnificent Seven with Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen, Lord Jim with Peter O'Toole, a comic role in How to Steal a Million with Audrey Hepburn, and perhaps most famously, as Tuco (the 'Ugly') in Sergio Leone's The Good, the Bad and the Ugly with Clint Eastwood. After the latter's success, Wallach appeared in several other spaghetti westerns, includingAce High.

Wallach is central to one of the most infamous show business legends. In 1953 he was cast as Angelo Maggio in the film From Here to Eternity, but was abruptly replaced by Frank Sinatra before filming began. Sinatra went on to win an Oscar for the performance, which revived his career. Sinatra purportedly used pressure from his underworld connections to get the part, an incident that inspired the Johnny Fontane character in the classic 1972 film The Godfather. To spare Sinatra embarrassment, Wallach says he turned down the role to appear in a Tennessee Williams play, claiming: "...[w]henever Sinatra saw me, he’d say, 'Hello, you crazy actor!'"

In 2006, Wallach made a guest appearance on the NBC show Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, playing a former writer who was blacklisted in the 1950s. His character was a writer on The Philco Comedy Hour, a show that aired on a fictional NBS network. This is a reference toThe Philco Television Playhouse, in several episodes of which Wallach actually appeared in 1955. Wallach earned a 2007 Emmy nomination for his work on the show.

Before accepting a role as a villain in Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West, Henry Fonda called Wallach and asked "What the hell does he [Leone] know about the West?" Wallach assured Fonda he would be pleasantly surprised if he accepted the role. After the film's success, Fonda called Wallach back to thank him.

Wallach and Leone had built a good relationship during shooting The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, but had a falling-out later on. Leone had asked Wallach to play a role in his upcoming film, A Fistful of Dynamite, but the actor explained he had a scheduling conflict. After much pleading, Wallach finally relented and turned down the other offer and waited for Leone to raise enough Hollywood money for the picture. However, the studio Leone went to had an actor, Rod Steiger, with one more picture in his studio contract and the studio announced that Leone would have to use him if they were to put up any financing. Leone then called to apologize to Wallach, who remained dumbstruck on the other end of the line. After even refusing to give Wallach a token payment for losing out on two jobs, the actor said, "I'll sue you"—to which Leone replied, "Get in line", and slammed down the phone. In his autobiography, Wallach relates the incident as regrettably being the final time the two spoke to one another.

Wallach played Mr. Freeze in the 1960s Batman television series. He wrote in his autobiography that he received more fan mail about his role as Mr. Freeze than about all of his other roles combined.

On November 13, 2010, at the age of 94, Wallach received an Honorary Academy Award for his contribution to the film industry at the 2010 Governor's Awards ceremony of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Personal life


Eli Wallach has been married to stage actress Anne Jackson (born 1926) since March 5, 1948, and they have three children: Peter (born 1951), Roberta (born 1955), and Katherine (born 1958). Roberta had an acting experience as a mentally disturbed teenager in Paul Zindel's The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds.

In 2005, Wallach released his autobiography The Good, the Bad and Me: In My Anecdotage. In it, Wallach wrote about his famous role as Tuco in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, commenting that he did not realize he was going to be "blessed" with the title "Ugly" until he saw the film. He remarked that it was an honor to work with Clint Eastwood, whom he praised for his professionalism. Wallach also mentioned that director Sergio Leone was notoriously careless regarding the safety of his actors during dangerous scenes. It was during filming that Wallach accidentally drank from a bottle of acid that a film technician had carelessly placed next to his soda bottle. He spat it out immediately, but was furious because his vocal cords could have been damaged if he had swallowed any of it. Leone gave him some milk to wash out his mouth and apologized for the incident, but also commented that accidents do happen.

Wallach lost sight in his left eye as the result of a stroke. According to his autobiography, the incident occurred "some years ago".

His niece is historian Joan Wallach Scott (the daughter of his brother, Sam Wallach). A. O. Scott, a film critic for the New York Times, is his great-nephew.

Wallach died on June 24, 2014 in New York, aged 98.



  • Baby Doll (1956)
  • The Lineup (1958)
  • Seven Thieves (1960)
  • The Magnificent Seven (1960)
  • The Misfits (1961)
  • Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man(1962)
  • How the West Was Won (1962)
  • The Victors (1963)
  • Act One (1963)
  • The Moon-Spinners (1964)
  • Kisses for My President (1964)
  • Lord Jim (1965)
  • Genghis Khan (1965)
  • The Poppy Is Also a Flower (1966)
  • How to Steal a Million (1966)
  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
  • The Tiger Makes Out (1967) (also producer)
  • Ace High (1968)
  • How to Save a Marriage and Ruin Your Life(1968)
  • A Lovely Way to Die (1968)
  • The Brain (1969)
  • Mackenna's Gold (1969)
  • The Adventures of Gerard (1970)
  • The Angel Levine (1970)
  • The People Next Door (1970)
  • Zigzag (1970)
  • Romance of a Horsethief (1971)
  • Long Live Your Death (1971)
  • A Cold Night's Death (1972)(TV)
  • Stateline Motel (1972)
  • Cinderella Liberty (1973)
  • Crazy Joe (1974)
  • The Dream Factory (1975)
  • Shoot First... Ask Questions Later (1975)
  • L'chaim: To Life (1975)
  • Eye of the Cat (1976)
  • Plot of Fear (1976)
  • Independence (1976)
  • The Domino Principle (1976)
  • The Sentinel (1977)
  • The Deep (1977)
  • Winter Kills (1977) (Released in 1979)
  • Nasty Habits (1977)
  • Movie Movie (1977)
  • Girlfriends (1978)
  • Little Italy (1978)
  • Circle of Iron (1978)
  • Firepower (1979)
  • The Hunter (1980)
  • The Salamander (1981)
  • Sam's Son (1984)
  • Sanford Meisner: The American Theatre's Best Kept Secret(1985)
  • Tough Guys (1986)
  • The Impossible Spy (1987) (TV)
  • Hollywood Uncensored (1987)
  • Nuts (1987)
  • Funny (1989)
  • The Two Jakes (1990)
  • The Godfather Part III Don Altobello (1990)
  • Article 99 (1992)
  • Mistress (1992) (Made in 1987)
  • Night and the City (1992)
  • Honey Sweet Love (1994)
  • Elia Kazan: A Director's Journey (1995) (narrator)
  • Two Much (1996)
  • The Associate (1996)
  • Larry's Visit (1996)
  • The Devil's Twilight (1998)
  • Uninvited (1999)
  • Keeping the Faith (2000)
  • Cinerama Adventure (2002)
  • Advice and Dissent (2002)
  • The Root (2003)
  • Broadway: The Golden Age, by the Legends Who Were There(2003)
  • Mystic River (2003)
  • King of the Corner (2004)
  • A Taste of Jupiter (2005)
  • The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation (2005) (voice)
  • The Easter Egg Adventure (2005) (narrator)
  • The Holiday (2006)
  • Pola Negri: Life is a Dream in Cinema (2006) (as himself)
  • The Hoax (2007)
  • Constantine's Sword (2007)
  • The War (2007)
  • Mama's Boy (2007)
  • Liszt For President (2008)
  • The Toe Tactic (2008)
  • Tickling Leo (2009)
  • New York, I Love You (2009)
  • The Ghost Writer (2010)
  • Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)


  • The Philco Television Playhouse - The Beautiful Bequest (1949)
  • Lights Out - Rappaccini's Daughter (1951)
  • Studio One - Stan The Killer (1952)
  • Armstrong Circle Theater - The Portrait (1952)
  • The Web - Deadlock (1952)
  • The Philco Television Playhouse - The Baby (1953)
  • Goodyear Television Playhouse - The Brownstone (1953)
  • Kraft Television Theater - Delicate Story (1954)
  • The Philco Television Playhouse - Shadow of the Champ (1955)
  • The Philco Television Playhouse - The Outsiders (1955)
  • The Kaiser Aluminum Hour - A Fragile Affair (1956)
  • Studio One - The Man Who Wasn't Himself (1957)
  • Hallmark Hall of Fame - The Lark (1957)
  • The Seven Lively Arts - The World of Nick Adams (1957)
  • Climax - Albert Anastasia, His Life & Death (1958)
  • Suspicion - The Death of Paul Dane (1958)
  • Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse - My Father The Fool (1958)
  • Shirley Temple's Storybook Theater - The Emperor's New Clothes (1958)
  • Hallmark Hall of Fame - The Gift of the Magi (1958)
  • Where Is Thy Brother (1958)
  • Playhouse 90 - The Plot To Kill Stalin (1958)
  • The Dupont Show of the Month - I Don Quixote (1959)
  • Playhouse 90 - The Blue Men (1959)
  • Playhouse 90 - For Whom The Bell Tolls (Parts 1 & 2) (1959)
  • Play of the Week - Lullaby (1960)
  • Naked City - A Death of Princes (1960)
  • Naked City - A Run For The Money (1962)
  • The Dick Powell Show - Tomorrow, The Man (1962)
  • Outlaws - A Bit of Glory (1962)
  • CBS Playhouse - Dear Friends (1967)
  • Batman - Ice-Spy (1967)
  • Batman - The Duo Defy (1967)
  • The Typists (1971)
  • The Young Lawyers - Legal Maneuvre (1971)
  • A Cold Night's Death (1972) (TVM)
  • Indict and Convict (1973) (TVM)
  • Paradise Lost (1974)
  • Great Mysteries - Compliments of the Season (1974)
  • Kojak - A Question of Answers (1975)
  • 20 Shades of Pink (1976)
  • Seventh Avenue (1977)
  • The Pirate (1978)
  • Fugitive Family (1980)
  • The Pride of Jesse Hallam (1980)(TVM)
  • Skokie (1981)(TVM)
  • Tales of the Unexpected - Shatterproof (1981)
  • The Wall (1982)
  • The Executioner's Song (1982)
  • Anatomy of an Illness (1983) (TVM)
  • Christopher Columbus (1985)
  • Our Family Honor (1985) (TVM)
  • Our Family Honor (1985–86) (Series)
  • Embassy (1985) (TVM)
  • Murder: By Reason of Insanity (1985) (TVM)
  • Rocket to the Moon (1986) (TVM)
  • Something In Common (1986) (TVM)
  • Highway to Heaven - To Bind The Wounds (1986)
  • The Impossible Spy (1987) (TVM)
  • Highway To Heaven - A Father's Faith (1987)
  • World's Beyond - The Black Tomb (1987)
  • Murder She Wrote - A Very Good Year For Murder (1988)
  • Alfred Hitchcock Presents - Kandinsky's Vault (1988)
  • CBS Schoolbreak Special - A Matter of Conscience (1989)
  • Vendetta : Secrets of a Mafia Bride (1991) (TVM)
  • L.A. Law - There Goes The Judge (1991)
  • Legacy of Lies (1992) (TVM)
  • Nonsense and Lullabyes: Nursery Rhymes (1992)
  • Nonsense and Lullabyes: Poems (1992)
  • Law & Order - The Working Stiff (1992)
  • Teamster Boss: The Jackie Presser Story (1992) (TVM)
  • Vendetta 2 - The New Mafia (1993) (TVM)
  • Tribeca - Stepping Back (1993)
  • Naked City - Justice With A Bullet (1998) (TVM)
  • The Bookfair Murders (2000)(TVM)
  • 100 Center Street - Kids : Part 1 (2001)
  • The Education of Max Bickford - I Never Schlunged My Father (2002)
  • The Education of Max Bickford - Genesis (2002)
  • The Education of Max Bickford - One More Time (2002)
  • Monday Night Mayhem (2002) (TVM)
  • Veritas: The Quest - The Name of God (2003)
  • Whoopi - American Woman (2003)
  • E.R - A Boy Falling Out of the Sky (2003)
  • Stroker and Hoop - I Saw Stroker Killing Santa (2005)
  • Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip - The Wrap Party (2006)
  • The National Parks: America's Best Idea (2009) (PBS) (Voice)
  • Nurse Jackie (2009)



Source: wikipedia.org

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