Eli Wallach [1915 -2014]
It’s a sad night for cinema, as iconic actor Eli Wallach has passed away. He was 98 years old.
Wallach served in the Army and started his acting career in the theater. Later, he starred in such movies as Baby Doll, The Magnificent Seven and as the titular ugly in the classic western The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
An interesting profile of the actor by The New York Times’s Robert Berkvist speaks of Wallach’s versatility:
More often than not, his film roles required him to play mustachioed characters who were lawless, evil or just plain nasty, which puzzled and challenged him. “Actually I lead a dual life,” he once said. “In the theater, I’m the little man, or the irritated man, the misunderstood man,” whereas in films “I do seem to keep getting cast as the bad guys.” His villain roles, he said, tended to be “more complex” than some of his stage roles. Even so, the theater remained his home base, and he said that he could never imagine leaving it. “What else am I going to do?” he asked in an interview with The Times in 1997. “I love to act.”
I haven’t seen a lot of his films but I will always remember his scene-stealing turn in one of my favorite movies (and a Christmas must), The Holiday.
Rest in peace.