Facts about Eli Wallach

Eli Wallach died at 98 years old
Died: June 24, 2014
Best known as: The "Ugly" of the movie The Good, the Bad and the Ugly



Eli Wallach Biography

Eli Wallach was the New York actor known for his seven decades on stage, on TV and in the movies, including roles in the films The Magnificent Seven (1960, as the bandit Calvera) and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966; Wallach was “the Ugly”).

Eli Wallach grew up in Brooklyn and went off to the University of Texas in 1932. By 1938 he’d earned a graduate degree in teaching from the City College of New York, but he chose to become an actor instead.

After service in the Army in World War II, Wallach returned to New York and made his Broadway debut in 1945. He met actress Anne Jackson in 1946 and they married in 1948, as Wallach was earning a reputation as talented practitioner of “The Method,” the naturalistic acting technique associated with the Actors Studio in New York.

Wallach won a Tony Award in 1951 for his Broadway performance in the Tennessee Williams play The Rose Tattoo, and won rave reviews for his film debut as the conniving seducer in 1956’s Baby Doll (with a screenplay by Tennessee Williams).

During the 1960s and ’70s Wallach became a familiar face to moviegoers, his raspy voice and screen presence making him a standout in character roles, often as an “ethnic” heavy.

In later decades he appeared on stage and in the movies, as well as in dozens of TV roles, from his Emmy-winning performance in 1967’s The Poppy Is Also a Flower to an Emmy-nominated performance in 2009’s Nurse Jackie.

Wallach received an honorary Oscar in 2010 for his body of work.

His other films include The Misfits (1961, starring Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe), How the West Was Won (1962), The Deep (1977, starring Nick Nolte), The Holiday (2006, starring Cameron Diaz) and The Ghost Writer (2010, starring Ewan McGregor).

Extra credit

Eli Wallach spent four years (1941-45) in the Medical Corps of the Army, reaching the rank of captain.


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