Eli Wallach, whose eclectic film career spanned six decades, has died at the age of 98.
Arguably his most famous role was that of Tuco the bandit in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, where he starred alongside Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef. He also acted with Marilyn Monroe in Arthur Miller’s The Misfits, and played a Mexican bandit in The Magnificent Seven. More recently he appeared in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, and The Holiday, which also starred Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz.
Wallach was an early adopter of method acting, and was awarded an honorary Oscar in 2010. He had a pretty extraordinary life, serving in WW2 before studying at the Actors’ Studio alongside the likes of Marlon Brando and Montgomery Clift. He was the original choice to star in From Here to Eternity, but the role eventually went to Frank Sinatra (who was rumoured to have snagged the part through his Mafia connections). His big screen break came in 1958 when he won a BAFTA for his role in Elia Kazan’s Baby Doll.
He was married to stage actress Anne Jackson, and they had three children. Wallach published his autobiography in 2005, titling it The Good, the Bad and Me: In My Anecdotage. He wrote about his experiences filming The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, describing an on set incident where he accidentally drank out of a bottle of acid a technician had carelessly placed near to his soda; apparently director Sergio Leone gave him some milk to wash his mouth out and apologised, but told him ‘accidents do happen’.
Wallach died on Tuesday 24th of June.