The prolific American actor Eli Wallach, known by many for his role in the western The Good, the Bad and the Ugly as part of a career spanning six decades, has died at the age of 98, US media reports say.
The New York Times said Wallach’s death on Tuesday was confirmed by his daughter Katherine. The cause of death was not given.
Another big movie that the character actor Wallach starred in was the 1960s western The Magnificent Seven, in which he played a Mexican bandit.
Wallach appeared in more than 80 films but was never nominated for an Oscar. However, in 2010 the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gave him an honorary one.
The academy hailed him as “the quintessential chameleon, effortlessly inhabiting a wide range of characters, while putting his inimitable stamp on every role,” the Times reported.
At that awards ceremony, the Brooklyn, New York native said: “As an actor I’ve played more bandits, thieves, warlords, molesters and mafioso than you could shake a stick at,” the Hollywood Reporter quoted him as saying.
Wallach also did extensive work on stage and in television.
In the 1950s he won a Tony – stage drama’s answer to the Oscars – for his role in Tennessee Williams’ The Rose Tattoo. There he played a truck driver who courts and wins over an Italian widow. The female lead, Maureen Stapleton, also won a Tony for her work in the play.
In the spaghetti western The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Wallach played a greedy Mexican who was pitted against Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef.
Wallach continued to work well into his 90s. He again appeared alongside Eastwood in the 2003 dramatic thriller Mystic River and in 2010 played in both Roman Polanski’s The Ghost Writer and Oliver Stone’s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.
Wallach leaves behind his wife Anne and three children.