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Eli Wallach

Eli Wallach

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Also Known As: Eli Herschel Wallach Died: June 24, 2014
Born: December 7, 1915 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York, USA Profession: actor, hospital registrar, camp counselor, playground director

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

One of the most respected actors in American performance, Eli Wallach's career never quite matched his long list of stage credits in terms of quality, but he had nevertheless contributed some memorable characters to film. Movieg rs knew him best for a pair of similar characters - the cruel Mexican bandit Calvera, whose raids on a poor village prompt the formation of "The Magnificent Seven" (1960), and as the scheming, scene-stealing Tuco in Sergio Leone's groundbreaking spaghetti Western, "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly" (1967). But Wallach's career stretched back a decade prior and continued on well into the 21st century, during which he played almost every ethnic type and moral stripe under the sun. While his record on the big screen remained spotty, Wallach thrived on television with an Emmy-winning performance in "The Poppy is a Flower" (ABC, 1966) and a campy turn as Mr. Freeze on "Batman" (ABC, 1966-68). Over the years, he remained under the radar while performing onstage or in lesser-known pictures, only to resurface in projects like the revival of "The Diary of Anne Frank" (1978), the acclaimed miniseries "The Executioner's Song" (NBC, 1982) and Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather III"...

One of the most respected actors in American performance, Eli Wallach's career never quite matched his long list of stage credits in terms of quality, but he had nevertheless contributed some memorable characters to film. Movieg rs knew him best for a pair of similar characters - the cruel Mexican bandit Calvera, whose raids on a poor village prompt the formation of "The Magnificent Seven" (1960), and as the scheming, scene-stealing Tuco in Sergio Leone's groundbreaking spaghetti Western, "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly" (1967). But Wallach's career stretched back a decade prior and continued on well into the 21st century, during which he played almost every ethnic type and moral stripe under the sun. While his record on the big screen remained spotty, Wallach thrived on television with an Emmy-winning performance in "The Poppy is a Flower" (ABC, 1966) and a campy turn as Mr. Freeze on "Batman" (ABC, 1966-68). Over the years, he remained under the radar while performing onstage or in lesser-known pictures, only to resurface in projects like the revival of "The Diary of Anne Frank" (1978), the acclaimed miniseries "The Executioner's Song" (NBC, 1982) and Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather III" (1990), in which he had a memorable scene as a mobster who dies while eating poisoned cannoli. The nonagenarian delivered award-worthy small screen performances on "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" (NBC, 2006-07) and "Nurse Jackie" (Showtime, 2009- ), and by the time he died at the age of 98 on June 24, 2014, Wallach's place as one of Hollywood's most venerated character performers had been assured.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
3.
 Ahead of Time (2009)
4.
 Tickling Leo (2009)
5.
6.
 Toe Tactic, The (2008)
7.
 Mama's Boy (2007)
8.
9.
 The Holiday (2006)
10.
 Hoax, The (2006)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1936:
Worked as a radio actor while pursuing graduate work in education
1939:
Made his stage acting debut in "The Bo Tree"
1945:
Made his Broadway debut in "Skydrift"; play closed after one week
:
Became a member of Eva LeGallienne's American Repertory Theatre
1949:
Made an early TV appearance on "The Philco Television Playhouse" (NBC)
1951:
Had breakthrough stage role in the Tennessee Williams play "The Rose Tattoo"
1952:
Feature acting debut, "Danger"
1953:
Returned to Broadway for the Tennessee Williams play "Camino Real"
1954:
Made his London stage debut as Sakini in "The Teahouse of the August Moon"; played role on Broadway in 1955
1956:
Had breakthrough film role as Carroll Baker's Sicilian lover in Elia Kazan's "Baby Doll"
1957:
Co-starred with Julie Harris in the TV version of "The Lark" (NBC)
1960:
Played a Mexican bandit in "The Magnificent Seven"
1961:
Supported Zero Mostel in "Rhinoceros" on Broadway
1961:
Had featured role as Clark Gable's pal in "The Misfits"
1963:
Acted with wife Anne Jackson in the off-Broadway play "The Tiger and The Typists"
1965:
Co-starred in the adventure film "Lord Jim"
1966:
Had a supporting role in Sergio Leone's "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly"
1966:
Won an Emmy for his role in the ABC TV movie "The Poppy Is Also a Flower"
1967:
Played Mr. Freeze in the "Batman" (ABC) series
1967:
First onscreen collaboration with wife Anne Jackson, "The Tiger Makes Out"
1970:
Portrayed Napoleon in "The Adventures of Gerard"
1973:
Re-teamed with wife Anne Jackson for the play "The Waltz of the Torreadors"
1976:
Acted onscreen with wife Anne Jackson in "Nasty Habits"
1977:
Co-starred in the NBC miniseries "Seventh Avenue"
1978:
Cast as Otto Frank in a revival of "The Diary of Anne Frank"
1979:
Cast in Tom Stoppard's play "Every Good Boy Deserves Favour"
1984:
Portrayed the title character's father in "Sam's Son"
1985:
Debut as series regular, playing the patriarch of a crime family in ABC's "Our Family Honor"
1987:
Played the psychiatrist evaluating Barbra Streisand's character in "Nuts"
1988:
Co-starred in the the Public Theatre revival of "Cafe Crown"; later transferred to Broadway
1990:
Had supporting role as a rival gangster in Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather, Part III"
1992:
Received acclaim for his appearance in the revival of Arthur Miller's "The Price"
1994:
Portrayed Noah in the National Actors Theater production of "The Flowering Peach"
1996:
Originated the role of the crusty octogenarian in "Visiting Mr. Green" in Stockbridge, MA; recreated the role Off-Broadway at the Union Square Theatre
1999:
Had supporting role in Carlo Gabriel Nero's feature "Uninvited"
1999:
Starred opposite Anne Jackson and their daughter Roberta in "Down the Garden Paths" at the George Street Theater in New Jersey
2000:
Appeared as Rabbi Ben Lewis in "Keeping the Faith"
2006:
Earned an Emmy nomination for his guest appearance on NBC's "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" as a former writer who was blacklisted in the 1950s
2006:
Befriended Kate Winslet's character in "The Holiday"
2007:
Co-starred opposite Richard Gere in Lasse Hallström's "The Hoax"
2009:
Earned an Emmy nomination for a guest appearance on Showtime's "Nurse Jackie"
2010:
Had a supporting role in Oliver Stone's "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

University of Texas at Austin: Austin , Texas - 1936
City College of New York: New York , New York - 1938
The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre: New York , New York - 1940
The Actors Studio: New York , New York - 1947

Notes

Wallach had hip replacement surgery in 1997.

"When my times comes, they'll knock on my dressing-room door and say, 'Places, please," and I'll be gone. And believe me, I'll have died a very happy man." --Eli Wallach to New York Post, December 178, 1997.

On working on stage, Wallach told InTheater, December 19, 1997: "But it's always good to come back and do a play. There's nothing like it. In the movies, you don't have much to say about what goes on the screen. In television, the level of writing is appalling."

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Anne Jackson. Actor. Married on March 5, 1948.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Abraham Wallach.
mother:
Bertha Wallach.
son:
Peter Douglas Wallach. Special effects director.
daughter:
Roberta Lee Wallach. Actor.
daughter:
Katherine Beatrice Wallach. Actor.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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