Eli Wallach - Actors and Actresses





Nationality: American. Born: Brooklyn, New York, 7 December 1915. Education: Attended Erasmus High School; University of Texas, Austin, B.A. 1936; City College of New York, M.Sc. in education 1938; studied acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse school,

Eli Wallach
Eli Wallach
New York, two years. Military Service: U.S. Army Medical Corps, during World War II. Family: Married the actress Anne Jackson, 1948, son: Peter David, daughters: Roberta and Katherine. Career: 1945—professional stage debut in Skydrift ; later roles in Eva Le Gallienne's American Repertory Theatre, 1946–47, Mister Roberts , 1949–51, The Rose Tattoo , 1951, Camino Real , 1953, Major Barbara , 1956, and The Chairs , 1958; 1956—film debut in Baby Doll ; also acted on television from 1958; 1977—in TV mini-series Seventh Avenue ; 1977–78—guest artist, with Anne Jackson, at Arena Stage, Washington, D.C.; 1985–86—in TV series Our Family Honor ; 1992—voices in TV mini-series Lincoln , and Baseball , 1994; 1995—in TV mini-series Vendetta II: The New Mafia ; occasional teacher at Actors Studio, New York.


Films as Actor:

1956

Baby Doll (Kazan) (as Silva Vacarro)

1958

The Line-Up (Siegel) (as Dancer)

1960

Seven Thieves (Hathaway) (as Pancho); The Magnificent Seven (John Sturges) (as Calvera)

1961

The Misfits (Huston) (as Guido)

1962

Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man ( Adventures of a Young Man ) (Ritt) (as John)

1963

"The Outlaws" ep. of How the West Was Won (Hathaway) (as Charlie Gant); The Victors (Foreman) (as Sergeant Craig); Act One (Schary) (as Warren Stone)

1964

Kisses for My President (Bernhardt) (as Rodriguez Valdez); The Moon-Spinners (Neilson) (as Stratos)

1965

Genghis Khan (Levin) (as Shah of Khwarezm); Lord Jim (Richard Brooks) (as the General)

1966

How to Steal a Million (Wyler) (as David Leland); Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo ( The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly ) (Leone) (as Tuco); The Poppy Is Also a Flower (Terence Young) (as Locarno)

1967

The Tiger Makes Out (Hiller) (as Ben Harris)

1968

How to Save a Marriage—and Ruin Your Life (Cook) (as Harry Hunter); New York City—The Most (Pitt—doc) (as cabdriver); A Lovely Way to Die (Rich) (as Tennessee Fredericks); Mackenna's Gold (J. Lee Thompson) (as Ben Baker); Il quattro dell'ave Maria ( Ace High ; Revenge at El Paso ) (Colizzi) (as Cacopoulos)

1969

Le Cerveau ( The Brain ) (Oury) (as Scannapieco)

1970

Zigzag ( False Witness ) (Colla) (as Mario Gambretti); The People Next Door (David Greene) (as Arthur Mason); The Angel Levine (Kadar) (as a clerk); The Adventures of Gerard (Skolimowski) (as Napoleon)

1971

Romance of a Horsethief (Polonsky)

1972

Viva la muerte . . . tua! ( Don't Turn the Other Cheek ; The Killer from Yuma ) (Tessari)

1973

L'Ultima chance ( Last Chance Motel ; Stateline Motel ) (Lucidi); Cinderella Liberty (Rydell) (as Lynn Forshay); A Cold Night's Death (Freedman—for TV) (as Frank Enari)

1974

Crazy Joe (Lizzani) (as Don Vittorio); Indict and Convict (Sagal—for TV); L'Chaim—To Life! (Mayer) (as narrator)

1975

Il bianco, il giallo, il nero ( Samurai ) (Corbucci) (as the sheriff); Attenti al buffone! ( Eye of the Cat ) (Bevilaqua)

1976

E tanta paura (Cavara) (as the detective); Independence (Huston—short) (as Benjamin Franklin); Twenty Shades of Pink (Stanley); Nasty Habits ( The Abbess ) (Lindsay-Hogg) (as the Monsignor)

1977

The Sentinel (Winner) (as Gatz); The Deep (Yates) (as Adam Coffin); The Domino Principle ( The Domino Killings ) (Kramer) (as General Tom Rezer)

1978

Girlfriends (Weill) (as Rabbi Gold); "Baxter's Beauties of 1933" (as Pop), and "Dynamite Hands" (as Vince Marlowe), eps. of Movie Movie (Donen); The Pirate (Annakin—for TV) (as Ben Ezra); Squadra antimafia ( Little Italy ) (Corbucci)

1979

Winter Kills (Richert) (as Joe Diamond); Circle of Iron ( The Silent Flute ) (Richard Moore) (as man in oil); Firepower (Winner) (as Sal Hyman)

1980

The Hunter (Kulik) (as Ritchie Blumenthal); Fugitive Family (Krasny—for TV) (as Olan Vacio)

1981

The Salamander (Zinner) (as Leporello); Acting: Lee Strasberg and the Actors Studio (doc); The Pride of Jesse Hallam (Nelson—for TV) (as Sal Galucci); Skokie (Wise—for TV) (as Bert Silverman)

1982

The Wall (Markowitz—for TV); The Executioner's Song (Schiller—for TV) (as Uncle Vern Damico)

1983

Anatomy of an Illness (Heffron—for TV) (as Dr. William Hitzig)

1984

Sam's Son (Landon) (as Sam Orowitz)

1985

Christopher Columbus (Lattuada—for TV) (as Hernando DeTalavera); Embassy (Robert Michael Lewis—for TV); Murder: By Reason of Insanity (Page—for TV) (as Dr. Huffman)

1986

Tough Guys (Kanew) (as Leo B. Little); Rocket to the Moon (Jacobs—for TV) (as Mr. Prince); Something in Common (Glenn Jordan—for TV) (as Norman Voss)

1987

Nuts (Ritt) (as Dr. Herbert A. Morrison); Hello Actors Studio (doc); Worlds Beyond: The Black Tomb (Jacobs—for TV); The Impossible Spy (Goddard—for TV)

1988

Funny (Ferren)

1989

Rosengarten ( The Rose Garden ) (Rademakers); Terezin Diary (Weissman and Justman)

1990

The Godfather, Part III (Francis Ford Coppola) (as Don Altobello); The Two Jakes (Nicholson) (as Cotton Weinberger)

1991

Vendetta: Secrets of a Mafia Bride ( Bride of Violence ; A Family Matter ) (Margolin—for TV) (as Frank Latella)

1992

Night and the City (Irwin Winkler) (as Peck); Legacy of Lies (Meshover-Iorg—for TV) (as Moses Zelnick); Mistress (Primus) (as George Lieberhoff); Article 99 (Deutsch) (as Sam Abrams); Teamster Boss: The Jackie Presser Story (Reid—for TV) (as Bill Presser)

1995

Smoke (Rissi)

1996

Two Much (Trueba) (as Sheldon); James Dean: A Portrait (Legon—doc) (as himself); Clark Gable: Tall, Dark and Handsome (Susan F. Walker—doc) (as himself); Two Much (Trueba) (as Sheldon); The Associate (Petrie) (as Fallon)

1998

Naked City: Justice with a Bullet (Freilich) (as Deluca)

1999

New York: A Documentary Film (Burns—mini for TV) (as voice); Uninvited (Carlo Gabriel Nero) (as Strasser)

2000

Keeping the Faith (Norton) (as Rabbi Lewis)

Publications


By WALLACH: books


The Actor's Audition , with David Black, New York, 1990.


By WALLACH: articles—

"My Strange Dilemma," in Films and Filming (London), August 1961.

"In All Directions," interview in Films and Filming (London), May 1964.

Catsos, G. J. M., "Eli Wallach," in Filmfax (Evanston), February/March 1991.


On WALLACH: articles—

Current Biography 1959 , New York, 1959.

Marill, Alvin H., in Films in Review (New York), August-September 1983.


* * *


Eli Wallach started in the theater, returned to it frequently, but achieved his principal identification through film. Wallach began his film career as the sinister sneering con-man lover in the controversial Elia Kazan/Tennessee Williams film Baby Doll . Except for comic presentations later, such as The Tiger Makes Out , Wallach never returned to leading man roles.

His second film, Don Siegel's The Line-Up , set the mold for Wallach. As the nervous psychotic killer Dancer, Wallach moved with grace, decision, and violence. He became a dancer, a choreographer of death, a man who could not understand why fate kept hitting him in the face. Whether comic or serious, Wallach has continually returned to this image and character, the none-too-bright killer who simply does not have the moral depth to understand why the world wants to destroy him. Whether his identity (and Eastern urban accent) is masked as a Latin bandit, as in The Magnificent Seven , or as an urban Italian soldier in The Victors , Wallach has become the epitome of the incredulous colorful villain. He had one of his best roles in this vein in the epic Sergio Leone spaghetti Western The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly , where he played the final adjective in the title.

Villainy, however, is but one facet of the actor. Occasionally, in a film such as John Huston's The Misfits , Wallach has portrayed not a killer of men but a man with a potentially dead soul. The pain behind the unloved eyes can be both contemptuous and pitiful. Unfortunately, it is a portrayal of depth that Wallach was seldom allowed to bring to the screen after The Misfits . In more recent films, Wallach's talents and the character type he has evolved have been limited to a decidedly secondary role, often forcing him to rely on the mannerisms which suggest his past portrayals. In the final Steve McQueen film The Hunter , for example, Wallach played a somewhat sympathetic Jewish bailbondsman on the thin edge of emotionalism, a polished but surface role at best.

Wallach, fortunately, is a character actor whom age will not diminish, nor, it seems, slow down. He appears in almost as many movies now as he did in his heyday. Among the most visible recent examples: as a mafioso in The Godfather, Part III , the final installment of Francis Ford Coppola's Corleone saga; The Two Jakes , Jack Nicholson's ill-fated (and ill-advised) sequel to the classic Chinatown ; and Irwin Winkler's updated remake of the forties noir thriller Night in the City . Wallach also joined aging contemporaries Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster for the enjoyable septuagenarian caper comedy Tough Guys .


—Stuart M. Kaminsky, updated by John McCarty

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