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Eli Wallach Poster

Biography

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Overview (4)

Date of Birth 7 December 1915Red Hook, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA
Date of Death 24 June 2014Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA
Birth NameEli Herschel Wallach
Height 5' 7" (1.7 m)

Mini Bio (1)

One of Hollywood's finest character / "Method" actors, Eli Wallach has been in demand for over 60 years (first film/TV role was 1949) on stage and screen and has worked alongside the biggest stars, including Clark Gable, Clint Eastwood, Steve McQueen, Marilyn Monroe, Yul Brynner, Peter O'Toole, and Al Pacino, to name but a few.

Wallach was born on 7 December 1915 in Brooklyn, NY, to Jewish parents who emigrated from Poland, and was one of the few Jewish kids in his mostly Italian neighborhood. He went on to graduate with a B.A. from the University of Texas in Austin, but gained his dramatic training with the Actors Studio and the Neighborhood Playhouse. He made his debut on Broadway in 1945, and won a Tony Award in 1951 for portraying Alvaro Mangiacavallo in the Tennessee Williams play "The Rose Tattoo".

Wallach made a strong screen debut in 1956 in the film version of the Tennessee Williams play Baby Doll (1956), shined as "Dancer", the nattily dressed hitman, in director Don Siegel's film-noir classic The Lineup (1958), and co-starred in the heist film Seven Thieves (1960). Director John Sturges then cast Wallach as vicious Mexican bandit Calvera in The Magnificent Seven (1960), the western adaptation of the Akira Kurosawa epic Seven Samurai (1954). By all reports, Wallach could not ride a horse prior to making "TMS", but expert tutelage from the film's Mexican stunt riders made it look easy! He next appeared in the superb The Misfits (1961), in the star-spangled western opus How the West Was Won (1962), the underrated WW2 film The Victors (1963), as a kidnapper in The Moon-Spinners (1964), in the sea epic Lord Jim (1965) and in the romantic comedy How to Steal a Million (1966).

Looking for a third lead actor in the final episode of the "Dollars Trilogy", Italian director Sergio Leone cast the versatile Wallach as the lying, two-faced, money-hungry (but somehow lovable) bandit "Tuco" in the spectacular The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) (aka "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly"), arguably his most memorable performance. Wallach kept busy throughout the remainder of the '60s and into the '70s with good roles in Mackenna's Gold (1969), Cinderella Liberty (1973), Crazy Joe (1974), The Deep (1977) and as Steve McQueen's bail buddy in The Hunter (1980).

The 1980s was an interesting period for Wallach, as he was regularly cast as an aging doctor, a Mafia figure or an over-the-hill hitman, such as in The Executioner's Song (1982), Our Family Honor (1985), Tough Guys (1986), Nuts (1987), The Two Jakes (1990) and as the candy-addicted "Don Altabello" in The Godfather: Part III (1990). At 75+ years of age, Wallach's quality of work was still first class and into the 1990s and beyond, he has remained in demand. He lent fine support to Bride of Violence (1991), Teamster Boss: The Jackie Presser Story (1992), Naked City: Justice with a Bullet (1998) and Keeping the Faith (2000). Most recently Wallach showed up as a fast-talking liquor store owner in Mystic River (2003) and in the comedic drama King of the Corner (2004).

In early 2005, Eli Wallach released his much anticipated autobiography, "The Good, The Bad And Me: In My Anecdotage", an enjoyable reading from one of the screen's most inventive and enduring actors.

Eli Wallach was very much a family man who remained married to his wife Anne Jackson for 66 years. When Wallach died at 98, he was survived by his wife, three children, five grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: firehouse44@hotmail.com

Spouse (1)

Anne Jackson (5 March 1948 - 24 June 2014) (his death) (3 children)

Trade Mark (1)

Raspy gravelly voice

Trivia (25)

Received his Bachelor's degree from the University of Texas at Austin in 1936.
Was almost killed during the train scene in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966). He was asked by Sergio Leone to do the scene again, and he then replied: "I'll never do that again!".
Turned down the role in From Here to Eternity (1953) that won Frank Sinatra an Oscar.
Was trained at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City.
One of three actors to play the character of Mr. Freeze on Batman (1966). (The other two were George Sanders and Otto Preminger). He once said that he has received more fan mail for that role than for any other role he has ever done.
Father, with Anne Jackson, of son Peter Wallach, and daughters Katherine Wallach and Roberta Wallach.
Was named as "King of Brooklyn" at the Welcome Back to Brooklyn Festival in 1998. His wife Anne Jackson was named "Queen of Brooklyn" at the same festival.
Had appeared with Steve McQueen in both McQueen's first major successful film (The Magnificent Seven (1960)) and in his last film (The Hunter (1980).
One of his best known roles was the lead bandit Calvera in The Magnificent Seven (1960). Although his character was eventually defeated in the film, he had outlived six of the other seven stars, as Robert Vaughn (born 1932) is the only one who is still alive as of 2014, despite the fact that he (born 1915) was older than all of them.
He, his wife Anne Jackson and their daughter, Roberta Wallach, have all made guest appearances in Law & Order (1990) in different episodes.
Had appeared with Steve McQueen, Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable in their final completed films: The Hunter (1980) and The Misfits (1961) (for both Monroe and Gable) respectively.
Had a brother and two sisters, all of whom became teachers.
He served for five years in the Army's Medical Administrative Corps during World War II, eventually attaining the rank of captain.
He had five grandchildren.
There was no official theater department at the University of Texas when he attended, so he joined a student organization called The Curtain Club to put on plays. One of the other students involved was future Governor of Texas John Connally.
Was blind in the left eye due to a stroke.
While attending the University of Texas, he acted in many student plays. In one, he performed with fellow students Ann Sheridan and Walter Cronkite.
He had two hip replacements and had arthritis in his back.
One of his fellow students at Parsons New School for Social Research in New York was Marlon Brando.
Turned down the lead role of Harry Berlin in Luv (1967) that was eventually played by Jack Lemmon.
In an interview on "Fresh Air" (at station WHYY in Philadephia, Pennsylvania, broadcast nationally on National Public Radio), he explained to Terry Gross that he learned to ride horses at the University of Texas: He took care of the polo ponies. During the filming of the The Magnificent Seven (1960), each morning he would ride a few hours with his gang.
Was friends with Walter Cronkite for over 70 years since they were both students at the University of Texas at Austin. Wallach was acknowledged at the Walter Cronkite memorial tribute at Lincoln Center and was in the audience.
Was the reader of the audio-book of Stephen King's "Insomnia".
Has appeared with his wife Anne Jackson in several films: The Tiger Makes Out (1967), How to Save a Marriage and Ruin Your Life (1968), Zig Zag (1970), The Angel Levine (1970), Nasty Habits (1977) and Sam's Son (1984).
He died from natural causes at his home in Manhattan (NYC).

Personal Quotes (37)

The subtitle [of his memoir "The Good, the Bad and Me"] is "In My Anecdotage". Bill Clinton asked me if he could use it, and I said, "You sold two million copies of your book. How dare you try to steal my subtitle!".
I was at the premiere of The Holiday (2006), a movie I did with Kate Winslet. Surrounded by all these beautiful young women. And after they left, [wife Anne Jackson] comes up and says to me, "Honestly, I don't know what they see in you.".
Well, I go to the theater today, and its curtain - there is no curtain in this play; the lights go down and go up - and we start. And I live this character for two hours. There are only two of us in the play. And It's a complete experience.
I never lost my appetite for acting.
Having the critics praise you is like having the hangman say you've got a pretty neck.
I've learned that life is very tricky business: Each person needs to find what they want to do in life and not be dissuaded when people question them.
But Clint [Eastwood] I love, because Clint was my mentor. I knew nothing about making an Italian movie.
When you have to shoot, shoot, don't talk.
When I saw the movie, I said, "I wish I had heard the music. I would have ridden the horse differently.".
I've never lost my appetite for acting; it's innovative and challenging.
And that movie was underrated - Nuts (1987) - because it deals with a terrible subject, but It's very well done.
And I did Batman (1966), too. I did Mr. Freeze. I get more mail for him than anything I've ever done.
Even if I don't want to slow down, I'm slowing down.
All of these stories bounced around in my mind for a long time.
But I went to the University of Texas in the 30s, and while there I learned to ride. Mostly polo ponies.
And then the first was The Misfits (1961), which I enjoyed very much, with Marilyn and Gable.
Everyone thinks acting is easy. It's far from easy, but it's the most gratifying thing I do.
I love to tell stories and this is my way of getting them down on paper.
I always end up being the evil one, and I wouldn't hurt a fly.
I never dreamed I would do Westerns.
I was an original member of the Actors' Studio.
I always wanted to tell stories and act.
The big secret in acting is listening to people.
My first Western was called The Magnificent Seven (1960).
I've worked with wonderful actors like Marlon Brando and Henry Fonda.
One thing changes every evening: It's the audience, and I'm working my magic. I'm always learning from it.
The trouble with that movie is that you had to see Chinatown (1974) the day before you saw The Two Jakes (1990).
What is it in my makeup that makes me grab any offer and fly around the world? Will I ever be satisfied? Can't I ever just rest?
I met my wife and, for the next ten years, we did no films at all. She did the first movie and then I did several after. My first movie was written by Tennessee Williams and directed by [Elia] Kazan and was called Baby Doll (1956).
This country has a complex about age. It's unbelievable. If you're over thirty, you've had it in this country.
Well, I've maybe gotten 200 requests for interviews about Marilyn, and I just decided I'm gonna do my own.
Yes, I won the BAFTA. I thought the British were very intelligent.
Well, I was getting a lot of money then, and I wasn't getting any Hollywood films, so I just did those. I'd always do a play in between. Whenever I ran low on funds, I'd always rush off to do a movie somewhere.
My wife says that stage acting is like being on a tightrope with no net, and being in the movies, there is a net - because you stop and go over it again. It's very technical and mechanical. On stage you're on your own.
So I wanted to show what I did with the money. So I got red silk shirts, beautiful hats, wonderful saddles, a great horse, and two gold teeth. So that was the way I did it.
I'd come out of the army after five years as a medic. I was a medical administrator and we ran hospitals, and I was a Captain in the army at the end, in 1945.
John Huston was a superb master. He knew how to make good films. I did three things with him. One is called Independence (1976). It plays in Philadelphia, for free. It's been playing there for 25 years.

Salary (3)

The Lineup (1958) $50,000
Genghis Khan (1965) $25,000
Genghis Khan (1965) $25,000 /week

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