“Having the critics praise you is like having the hangman say you’ve got a pretty neck.”
Eli Wallach, the veteran character actor who starred in some of the greatest film westerns, has died at the age of 98.
His death was confirmed earlier today by his daughter Katherine.
Born in Brooklyn, he initially served in the army before turning to theatre acting where he appeared in several renowned productions including The Rose Tattoo and The Diary of Anne Frank.
He eventually made it onto the big-screen and won praise for his performance in Baby Doll (1956) which helped land him the BAFTA for Most Promising Newcomer.
He would ultimately make a name of himself a few years later with his numerous roles of playing scoundrels in the Western genre.
The first of those was his turn as the Guido in The Misfits (1961) before following that up with his villainous role as Calvera in the classic flick The Magnificent Seven (1963).
However it was his portrayal of the cunning Tuco in Sergio Leone’s legendary western The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (1966) that won him many admirers. Below is one of his greatest moments from the film.
From then on, Wallach indulged himself in various roles with one of those being his two-episode appearance as Mr Freeze in the 1960s Batman TV series.
Between then and 1990, he mostly appeared in low budget films and television shows but ended up playing a significant role as veteran mafia boss Don Altobello in the concluding gangster sequel The Godfather Part III (1990).
He eventually acted into his 90s and made various appearances in the likes of Mystic River (2003), The Holiday (2006) and New York I Love You (2008) with his last screen role being the part of Julie Steinhardt in the Wall Street sequel Money Never Sleeps (2010).
Around that time, the Academy honoured him for his contribution to cinema by presenting him with an honourary Oscar in 2011.
Wallach is survived by his wife, actress Anne Jackson, to whom he was married for 66 years; three children and many grandchildren.