The great character actor, Eli Wallach passed away last night at the age of 98. I will miss he art and his talent. I first remember seeing him as "Tuco", opposite Clint Eastwood's "Blondie" and Lee Van Cleef's "Angel Eyes" in perhaps the best Spaghetti Western ever made Leone's "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and of course, Wallach Played "The Ugly" in a tour de force performance that often stole the show from his ultra -talented co-stars. His line "When you have to shoot, shhot, don't talk. still makes me laugh.
He had played a Mexican bandit before in the remake of Kurosawa's "The Seven Samurai", John Sturges' "The Magnificent Seven". Though the performance was more restrained by the needs of the script, Wallach as the marauding Mexican bandit leader, "Calvera" managed quite handily to hold his own along side the likes of Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn not to mention Brad Dexter, and Horst Buchholz ,
Of course he was wimsically magnificent as "Silva Vacarro" in "Baby Doll". Another picture he had a small role in that I loved was as "The Man-in-oil" in the Bruce Lee conceived "Circle Of Iron" where he plays a man trying to acchieve enlightenment by desolving away his...ahum....means of Earthly passions. Bizarre, yes, but handled OH SO WELL by Wallach.
He did finally get the well deserved recogniton he earned when The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences bestowed on him the great honor of a Lifetime Achievement Honorary Oscar Award in 2010 and one accolade I felt was long over due.
Though I am sorry in his passing, I relish the fact that I had the opportunity to experience his wonderful work. Now as it is at an end, now may he rest peacefully in the bosom of light and beauty eternal.
Edited by James Steven Beverly, 26 June 2014 - 03:20 AM.