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Eli Wallach: The Good, the Bad and the Brilliant

Eli WallachEli Wallach is burned into our memories as the “Ugly” in Sergio Leone’s 1966 spaghetti western, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

As Tuco Ramí­rez, the malevolent but clownish bandit who tangles with a bounty hunter (Clint Eastwood) and a cold-blooded killer (Lee Van Cleef) over a cache of Confederate gold, Wallach gave a performance that was lauded as “inspired” by critic Roger Ebert, who wrote that “Wallach took this low-rent role seriously and made something evocative out of it.”

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Wallach, who died on June 24 at age 98 in New York City, was so good as Tuco that it’s easy to forget that he appeared in 167 other roles in movies and television, in a career that spanned six decades. In classics such as Baby Doll (1956), The Magnificent Seven (1960), The Misfits (1961) and How to Steal a Million (1966), he was an exquisitely skilled actor who stood toe-to-toe with some of the biggest stars in Hollywood, from Karl Malden to Clark Gable to Peter O’Toole. When the  Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honored Wallach with an honorary Oscar in 2010, it noted that he was “the quintessential chameleon, effortlessly inhabiting a wide range of characters, while putting his inimitable stamp on every role.”

Here are some facts about Wallach:




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Photo: Wallace in 1966 (Wikipedia)


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