Stars of stage and screen have paid their respects to Eli Wallach, the Jewish actor who starred alongside Clint Eastwood in ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’ and Marilyn Monroe in ‘The Misfits,’ who has died at the age of 98.
Brooklyn-born Wallach (pictured, right) was famous for his gravelly voice, and quickly became a leading figure, starring alongside Clark Gable and latterly with Al Pacino in ‘The Godfather Part III.’
The son of immigrant Polish parents, Wallach hit the screen in the 1950s and often played Mexican bandits in movies, most memorably in 1960’s The Magnificent Seven, in which his character threatened Steve McQueen and Yul Brynner.
“He was always smiling, always chatting, always concentrating, and always telling stories,” said British actress Kate Winslet. “He could go take after take after take.”
It almost wasn’t so. His parents had wanted him to become a teacher, before he got involved in plays at the local playhouse. After serving in the Second World War, he debuted on Broadway in 1945 and won a Tony Award for Tennessee Williams’s 1951 ‘The Rose Tattoo.’
Honored with a special Oscar in 2010, Wallach – whose hobby was collecting antique clocks – said: “I’ve played more bandits, thieves, warlords, molesters and Mafiosi than you could shake a stick at.”
He is survived by his wife, three children, five grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.