An actor The New York Times calls “one of his generation’s most prominent and prolific character actors in film, onstage and on television for more than 60 years” has passed away. Eli Wallach died Tuesday at the age of 98, his daughter Katherine confirms.
The character actor “appeared in scores of roles, often with his wife, Anne Jackson,” The New York Times reports. “No matter the part, he always seemed at ease and in control, whether playing a Mexican bandit in the 1960 western ‘The Magnificent Seven,’ a bumbling clerk in Ionesco’s allegorical play ‘Rhinoceros,’ a henpecked French general in Jean Anouilh’s ‘Waltz of the Toreadors,’ Clark Gable’s sidekick in ‘The Misfits’ or a Mafia don in ‘The Godfather: Part III.’”
He is perhaps best known for playing “Tuco” opposite Clint Eastwood in Sergio Leone’s 1966 spaghetti Western “The Good, The Bad And The Ugly.”
Despite his long and often critically acclaimed career, Wallach was never nominated for an Academy Award. “But in November 2010, less than a month before his 95th birthday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded him an honorary Oscar, saluting him as ‘the quintessential chameleon, effortlessly inhabiting a wide range of characters, while putting his inimitable stamp on every role,’” The New York Times reports.
His “Arthur Abbott” character in the 2006 film “The Holiday” with Kate Winslet was similarly honored.
Wallach earned a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor his 1956 film “Baby Doll.” He also won an Emmy Award in 1967 for his supporting role in the drama “Poppies Are Also Flowers,” and scored four other Emmy nominations during the next 40-plus years, most recently for guest stints on “Nurse Jackie” (2010) and “Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip” (2007), Deadline reports
He continued to work steadily well into the 2000s.