This Day in Death

6.24.14: Eli Wallach – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 2:42 pm June 29, 2014

ELI_WALLACHI don’t claim to know the reason behind the downturn in Westerns being produced nowadays, but if it has anything to do with budgetary constraints you could probably save a few bucks by filming all of the desolate, ghost town scenes in the ruins of what we used to call Detroit. Just make sure to crop out all those “cash for gold” storefronts.

 

Stage and screen actor Eli Wallach passed away last week at the age of 98. Well, technically, 98 and a half. Impressed now? I thought so. Let’s move on.

Wallach is remembered for playing the titular “ugly” in 1966’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. He also starred in 1960’s The Magnificent Seven as Calvera, one of the decidedly non-magnificent characters. Not, uh, not the most ego-flattering of billings during that decade for Mr. Wallach, it would seem. Later, he could be seen in The Godfather Part III: Still ‘Fatherin’, Chinatown follow-up The Two Jakes (released in America as Chinatown 2: The Sequeling) and more recently in Wall Street: The Bad One.

Unlike his Method brethren, Wallach didn’t go for tragic grandeur; he was not one to mumble or mope. The men he played could be evil — sometimes pure evil, like his psycho-killer Dancer in Don Siegel’s 1958 crime drama The Lineup — but they usually enjoyed their venality, revealing a smile behind the scowl. […] For all his Method training, Wallach had the born showman’s gift of communicating to audiences the pleasure he got from acting.

Plus, if the 21 inhaler salute I just heard is any confirmation, Wallach also portrayed the villainous Mr. Freeze in the 60s Batman television show. Again: Mr. Freeze. Because the character’s birth name is Victor Fries and he’s big on cryogenics, you see. Awful, yes, but that’s goddamn Tolstoy compared to naming a character E. Nygma because he loves riddles, or having a William Tockman be really into… clocks, which is stupid on a couple different levels. With a roster that weak you’d really think DC Comics would take my proposed new character, The Blogger, a bit more seriously. He threatens the world by trolling WordPress forums and forgetting to pay the rent, gradually weakening the world’s economic infrastructure. He’s sorta working the long con that way.

 

Source: Time

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