SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

June 26, 2014

Eli Wallach, veteran character actor, dies at 98

NEW YORK (AP) — As a masterful character actor and early product of postwar, Method-style theater, Eli Wallach wore countless faces, disappearing into them all. But he was always propelled — in acting and in life — by a mischievousness and an abiding playfulness that made him a tireless performer, an enduring family man and, of course, one immortal scoundrel.

“I never lost my appetite for acting,” Wallach wrote in his 2005 memoir “The Good, the Bad, and Me,” named after his most famous film. “I feel like a magician.”

Wallach died Tuesday evening from natural causes after 98 years of life, 66 years of marriage and some 100 films, including several he made in his 90s. His son, Peter Wallach, confirmed his death Wednesday.

The versatile, raspy-voiced actor was a mainstay of Tennessee Williams’ plays (he won a Tony Award for “The Rose Tattoo” in 1951) and an original member of the Actors Studio in the early days of Method acting. But the most notable credit in his prolific career was “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” in which he played the rascally Mexican outlaw Tuco.

As the Ugly of the title, he stole Sergio Leone’s 1966 spaghetti Western from the Good, Clint Eastwood, with lines like: “When you have to shoot, shoot, don’t talk.”

“Everywhere I go, someone will recognize me from ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ and start whistling the theme song,” he said in a 2003 interview, referring to Ennio Morricone’s famous score. “I can feel when it’s going to happen.”

Wallach never won an Oscar, but he was given an honorary Academy Award in 2010, hailed as the “quintessential chameleon.”

“I’ve played more bandits, thieves, killers, warlords, molesters and Mafiosi than you could shake a stick at,” Wallach said, accepting the award from Eastwood.

Wallach’s personal life, he added, was more placid and law-abiding: He loved collecting antique clocks, watching tennis and telling stories.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World

Local News
  • State sets tax holiday BOSTON -- Shoppers will get a holiday from the state sales tax on Aug. 16 and 17, after state lawmakers finally agreed on a weekend. The tax-free holiday has been an annual event since 2004, with the exception of 2009, when the state raised the sales

    August 1, 2014

  • crab Little green invaders threatening local clam flats IPSWICH -- The green crab is eating our lunch. It's been eating its way through Northeastern shellfish for years, and some local experts are worried that the undersized crustacean, about 31/2 to 4 inches across, has reached critical mass. The creatur

    August 1, 2014 2 Photos

  • Shoppers1 Despite shopping elsewhere, Market Basket customers remain loyal

    SALEM -- Local Market Basket customers can't hold out any longer as the company continues to weigh offers to buy the chain, including one from ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas. "I'm very proud of the employees and customers who have been holding out," s

    August 1, 2014 4 Photos 4 Stories

  • 140731_SN_DLE_APARTMENT6 Developer unveils new Peabody Square apartments PEABODY -- It's an indication of what he and his business partners want to do in the city's downtown, Norman Lee said Thursday as he showed off the stylish interiors of 10 brand-new apartments above Congressman John Tierney's office in Peabody Square

    August 1, 2014 10 Photos

  • Scandal raises questions about speaker's powers BOSTON -- The speaker of the state House of Representatives gets far-reaching powers to carve up the budget, control which bills advance, dole out committee chairmanships and reward favored lawmakers with plum office space on Beacon Hill. But the spe

    August 1, 2014