Eli Wallach

Biography

Date of Birth 7 December 1915, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA Birth Name Eli Herschel Wallach Height 5' 7" (1.70 m) Mini Biography One of Hollywood's finest character / "Method" actors, Eli Wallach has been in demand for over 50 years 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 Mangiaco 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) (TV), "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) (TV), Teamster Boss: The Jackie Presser Story (1992) (TV), Naked City: Justice with a Bullet (1998) (TV) 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", a wonderfully enjoyable read from one of the screen's most inventive and enduring actors. Spouse Anne Jackson (5 March 1948 - present) 3 children Trivia Graduated from The University of Texas at Austin - BA 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. 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 of Peter Wallach, 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. 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 is the lead bandit Calvera in The Magnificent Seven (1960). Although his character is eventually defeated in the film, he has outlived six of the seven stars, as Robert Vaughn is the only one who is still alive as of 2009, despite the fact that he is 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. In the "Murder, She Wrote" (1984) episode "A Good Year for Murder", he played a dying man, Salatore Gambini, who committed a murder because he had nothing to lose. In the "Law & Order" (1990) episode "The Working Stiff", he played a character, Simon Vilanis, who was suspected of committing a murder for the same reason although he ultimately proved to be innocent. 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. Has 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 has three grandsons. 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. In 1966, he starred in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) ("The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly") with Clint Eastwood. Thirty-seven years later, Eastwood directed Wallach in Mystic River (2003). Is blind in the left eye due to a stroke. While attending The University of Texas he acted in many student plays and in one he costarred with Walter Cronkite. He has had two hip replacements and has 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" (on station WHYY in Philadephia, Pennsylvania), 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 a friend of Walter Cronkite for over 70 years since they were both students at the University of Texas in Austin. Wallach was acknowledged at the Walter Cronkite memorial tribute at Lincoln Center and was in the audience. He is one of only 9 actors to have played "Special Guest Villains" in "Batman" (1966) who are still alive, the others being Malachi Throne, Julie Newmar, John Astin, Joan Collins, Glynis Johns, Barbara Rush, Dina Merrill and Zsa Zsa Gabor. Personal Quotes 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". Salary The Lineup (1958) $50,000 Genghis Khan (1965) $25,000/week

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Person Photo

Birth Name

Eli Herschel Wallach

Birth Place

Red Hook, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA

Birth Date

12/7/1915

Death Date

6/24/2014
Known For
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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Tuco

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The Holiday

Arthur

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The Magnificent Seven

Calvera

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How to Steal a Million

Davis Leland

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Aces High

Cacopoulos

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The Hunter

Ritchie Blumenthal

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The Associate

Donald Fallon

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The Lineup

Dancer

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The Moon-Spinners

Stratos

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Baby Doll

Silva Vacarro

Starring In
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Sergio Leone - L'italiano che inventò l'America

Self

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Broadway: The Golden Age

Self

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Love, Marilyn

Himself (archive footage)

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Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

Julius Steinhardt

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The Ghost Writer

Old Man

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Ahead of Time: The Extraordinary Journey of Ruth Gruber

Mordechai Rossman (voice)

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The Godfather Supplements

Don Altobello (archive footage)

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Constantine's Sword

Piero Terracina (voice)

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Mama's Boy

Seymour Warburton

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The Hoax

Noah Dietrich

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The Holiday

Arthur

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Steve McQueen: The Essence of Cool

Himself - Interviewee

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Slapstick, Too!

Narrator

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The Easter Egg Adventure

Narrator (voice)

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Mystic River

Mr. Loonie - Liquor Store Owner (uncredited)

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Horatio's Drive: America's First Road Trip

Other Voices (voice)

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Monday Night Mayhem

Leonard Goldenson

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Keeping the Faith

Rabbi Ben Lewis

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Uninvited

Alan Strasser

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20th Century Fox: The First 50 Years

Himself

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The Associate

Donald Fallon

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Two Much

Sheldon

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Night And The City

Peck

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Article 99

Sam Abrams

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Mistress

George Lieberhof

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Teamster Boss: The Jackie Presser Story

Bill Presser

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The Godfather Family: A Look Inside

Himself / Don Altobello

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The Godfather: Part III

Don Altobello

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The Two Jakes

Cotton Weinberger

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Hello Actors Studio

Self

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Nuts

Dr. Herbert A. Morrison

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The Impossible Spy

Yacov

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Tough Guys

Leon B. Little

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Something in Common

Norman Voss

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Sam's Son

Sam Orowitz

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Anatomy of an Illness

Dr. William Hitzig

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The Executioner's Song

Uncle Vern Damico

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The Wall

Mauritzi Apt

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The Salamander

General Leporello

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The Pride of Jesse Hallam

Sal Galucci

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Skokie

Bert Silverman

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The Hunter

Ritchie Blumenthal

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Firepower

Sal Hyman

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Winter Kills

Joe Diamond

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Movie Movie

Vince Marlow / Pop

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Little Italy

Gerolamo Giarra (as Ely Wallach)

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Girlfriends

Rabbi Gold

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Circle of Iron

Man-in-Oil

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Nasty Habits

Monsignor

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The Deep

Adam Coffin

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The Sentinel

Det. Gatz

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The Domino Principle

General Reser

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Plot of Fear

Peter Struwwel

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Attenti al Buffone

Cesare

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Il bianco, il giallo, il nero

Sheriff Edward Gideon / aka Black Jack

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Crazy Joe

Don Vittorio

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Cinderella Liberty

Lynn Forshay

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Stateline Motel

Joe

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A Cold Night's Death

Frank Enari

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Long Live Your Death

Max Lozoya (as Ely Wallach)

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Il Romanzo di un Ladro di Cavalli

Kifke

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The People Next Door

Arthur Mason

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Angel Levine

Delicatessen Clerk

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The Adventures of Gerard

Napoleon Bonaparte

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Mackenna's Gold

Ben Baker

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Le Cerveau

Frankie Scannapieco

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Aces High

Cacopoulos

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The Dean Martin Double Feature - Who Was That Lady / How To Save A Marriage

Harry Hunter

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A Lovely Way to Die

Tennessee Fredericks

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How to Steal a Million

Davis Leland

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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Tuco

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Mohn ist auch eine Blume

'Happy' Locarno

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Genghis Khan

The Shah of Khwarezm

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Lord Jim

The General

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The Legend of Marilyn Monroe

Actor 'The Misfits' (archive footage) (uncredited)

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The Moon-Spinners

Stratos

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Kisses for My President

Raphael Valdez Jr.

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The Victors

Sgt. Joe Craig

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Act One

Warren Stone

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How the West Was Won

Charlie Gant

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Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man

John

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The Misfits

Guido

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The Magnificent Seven

Calvera

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Sieben Diebe

Poncho

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The Lineup

Dancer

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Baby Doll

Silva Vacarro

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