Eli Wallach — a look back at his memorable roles

A fond farewell to one of the stage and screen's finest character actors.

Posted by Julie Garisto on Thu, Jun 26, 2014 at 12:57 PM

Eli Wallach with Lawrence Fishburne and Mark Wahlberg in Mystic River.
  • Eli Wallach with Lawrence Fishburne and Mark Wahlberg in Mystic River.

Film lovers are bidding farewell to another beloved patriarch and talented character actor this week: Eli Wallach. 

The 98-year-old, multiple award-winner died in his Manhattan home on June 24.

A little shifty, a little raspy and always endearing, Wallach always bore a singular glint in his eye and mischievous grin, portraying villains, crooks, little old Jewish men and other "ethnic" characters.

He came to prominence on Broadway, where he won a Tony Award for his portrayal of Mangiacavallo in Tennessee Williams’s The Rose Tattoo (1951), and he performed in more than 20 Broadway shows since the '40s — many opposite wife Anne Jackson.

Wallach's late-career film appearances were no less feisty and included  Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, The Godfather IIIAnalyze This and Analyze That, as Jelly — "he stabbed himself in the back four times and threw himself off a bridge” — and  Bullets over Broadway, as Nick Valenti. Some of his more memorable roles include the following: 

As Tuco (with Clint Eastwood) in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966).
  • As Tuco (with Clint Eastwood) in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966).

Calvera in The Magnificent Seven (1960).
  • Calvera in The Magnificent Seven (1960).
Wallach and Carroll Baker from Baby Doll (1956). He won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as Sicilian Silva Vacarro in the dark comedy directed by Elia Kazan.
  • Wallach and Carroll Baker from Baby Doll (1956). He won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as Sicilian Silva Vacarro in the dark comedy directed by Elia Kazan.
He co-starred in Tough Guys with legends Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster (here with  Dana Carvey and Alexis Smith, 1986).
  • He co-starred in Tough Guys with legends Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster (here with Dana Carvey and Alexis Smith, 1986).
As Mr. Freeze in the original Batman TV series.
  • As Mr. Freeze in the original Batman TV series.
With Marilyn Monroe in The Misfits (1961).
  • With Marilyn Monroe in The Misfits (1961).

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