In memoriam: Eli Wallach

News Niall Mcloughlin 25 Jun 2014 - 08:20

Eli Wallach, star of The Good, The Bad And The Ugly, has sadly passed away at the age of 98.

We're sad to report that Eli Wallach, perhaps best known for his scintillating turn as the bandit Tuco in The Good, The Bad And The Ugly has sadly passed away.

A veteran of the stage as well as a master in front of the camera, Wallach amassed a fine collection of work that began all the way back in the 1940s when he made his Broadway debut. A lover of the stage, Wallach would star in a number of Broadway productions and was rewarded with a Tony Award in 1951 for his role in Tennessee Williams's play, The Rose Tattoo.

His versatility later saw Wallach move forward into film, making his debut in 1956 film Baby Doll, a role that would propel him to greater heights as he later starred in 1960's The Magnificent Seven, 1961's The Misfits and 1966's How To Steal A Million.

However, arguably his finest role came in Sergio Leone's spaghetti western, The Good, The Bad And The Ugly. Playing the selfish bandit Tuco, his sheer presence, power and tenacity in front of the lens elevated the performances of Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef and left audiences with one of the greatest showdowns in cinematic history.

As well as starring in The Godfather: Part III, younger viewers may know Wallach from Nancy Meyers's 2006 romantic comedy The Holiday, where Wallach, starring alongside Kate Winslet, plays a disillusioned writer unsure of how his craft has become the way it has. The ease at which he plays the role is arguably the film's greatest strength. There were also later roles in Roman Polanski's 2009 film Ghost Writer, as well as Oliver Stone's Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010).

While never receiving an Academy Award, Wallach was awarded an honorary Oscar in November 2010, where was he was described as "the quintessential chameleon, effortlessly inhabiting a wide range of characters, while putting his inimitable stamp on every role".

There was a charisma and charm to Wallach's work, a trait that left a mark on audiences long after the credits rolled. He will be sorely missed.

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A wonderful actor, sad news. He was even fantastic in his small role in Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip.

"Any man who double crosses me and leaves me alive...He know nothing about Tuco....Nothing!"
RIP Eli, What a life at 98 and thanks for the memories.

"If you're gonna shoot, shoot! Don't talk." Great line form Good, Bad and Ugly delivered superbly (and then later butchered in the 2004 movie Van Helsing). Tuco will always be his stand-out performance for me. 98 is a good innings though. R.I.P.

I just had a conversation with a girl the same age as me. she refered to him as "the guy from the holiday". Eli Wallach, summing up the difference between men and women in one career. RIP Tuco.

This is heartbreaking. GBU is one of my two favourite films. He was fantastic in it, and I'll always have fond memories of him as Mr Freeze in the Adam West Batman TV series.

I gotta say that although in no way a great film, The Holiday is much better for the relationship between Winslet and Wallach. It's actually quite touching which could have come across as mawkish if it wasn't for Wallach performance.
He was great in .... was it Wise Guys with Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas? He was a myopic assassin.
I think most actors would give their right arm to have a career as long and fruitful as his. RIP Tuco indeed.

Look on the brightside though, 98 years old and pretty much working right up to the end. That's gotta be one hell of a legacy to leave. I'm sure his family are as proud of him as can be.

"...wanted in 14 counties of this state, the condemned is found guilty of the crimes of murder, armed robbery of citizens, state banks and post offices, the theft of sacred objects, arson in a state prison, perjury, bigamy, deserting his wife and children, inciting prostitution, kidnapping, extortion, receiving stolen goods, selling stolen goods, passing counterfeit money, and, contrary to the laws of this state, the condemned is guilty of using marked cards..."

Yeah, very representative of the women… yeah yeah…

FFS, it was a joke!

Didn't you hear me, laughing myself to death ?

Its trite to say 'he had a good innings' since those he loved and left behind will think differently since you can never have long enough with those you love. I wasn't aware much of his other work but his performance in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (one of my all time favourite films) has more than stood the test of time and it simply would not have been as great or as memorable as it is without him. RIP.

I always loved that, the most heinous crime of all - marked cards!!

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