Wallach, one of the cinema industry’s most prolific actors appeared in more than ninety movies, including The Magnificent Seven, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and Godfather Three.
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Eli Wallach, regarded as being one of the cinema industry’s most prolific and talented actors, appearing in more than ninety movies during his sixty year career, has passed away at the age of 98.
Wallach, who remained active as a movie actor while he was well into his nineties, with his most recent major movie role being in 2010 when he starred alongside Michael Douglas and Shia Labeouf in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.
During the same year, Wallach made his final screen appearance in Roman Polanski’s The Ghost Writer, alongside Scottish actor Ewan McGregor who was exactly sixty years years his junior.
In the early years of his film career, during the fifties and sixties, Eli Wallach was best known for playing the role of villains and bad guys, first of all as part of” The Magnificent Seven” alongside Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson and James Coburn as well as being a member of the trilogy that starred in the Spaghetti Western trilogy that began with “ The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” with his co-stars being Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef.
Wallach, who, despite being one of the film industry’s most respected method actors, was equally known for his modesty and self effacing sense of humor, which was never more to the fore in 2010 when he was presented with an Honorary Academy Award at becoming the oldest ever Oscar recipient.
In his acceptance speech Wallach, still as sharp as a whip despite being already 94 recalled that as an actor during his sixty year career, he had played more bandits, thieves, warlords, molesters and Mafioso that you could shake a stick at.
Wallach, although best recognized as a film actor began his career in the theater, even winning a Tony Award in 1951 appearing in the Tennessee Williams’ original production of The Rose Tattoo, in the part of Alvaro.
Wallach also won an Emmy in 1996 for his role as a former drug dealer in ABC’s Poppies Are Also Flowers.
Eli Wallach graduated from the University of Texas during the mid Thirties, with plans to join the teaching profession. Like many young men of his era, Wallach was conscripted to the army in World War Two, serving as a medic.
After being released from the army, Wallach made the decision to study method acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theatre in New York , where he formed firm and lasting friendships with fellow students Gregory Peck and Efrem Zimbalist Jr.
Wallach began to make regular appearances on the New York stage in the mid to late forties, and it was there he met his wife , Anne Jackson, whom he was to remain happily married for 65 years until his passing.