He lived to be 98, but his life could have ended much sooner if it weren’t for Eastwood
He died on June 24, 2014 in New York, at the age of 98, after a bright career, studded with many roles in excellent productions. A life that seriously risked ending prematurely, if Clint Eastwood had not drawn Eli Wallach rescued. In a scene from the film The good, the bad and the ugly, where they interpreted Biondo and respectively Tuco Ramirez they had to blow up a bridge to separate the Confederate army and the Union forces.
Aware of the risk, also deriving from the director’s tendency to ignore certain safety measures when shooting, Eastwood was quick to persuade Wallach to follow him up a hill to watch the scene from a safe distance. A providential move: the crew did, in fact, blow up the bridge earlier than expected.
Born on December 7, 1915 (Sagittarius) in New York, Eli Wallach took his first steps in Broadway, to then embark on a long and brilliant film career. He stood out for his activity as a character actor from punchy mask and of remarkable temperament, under the direction of directors of the stature of Francis Ford Coppola, Roman Polanski, Oliver Stone, Sergio Leone, John Sturges, Joshua Marston, William Wyler, Nancy Meyers, Elia Zakan and Martin Ritt. The period of greatest splendor coincided with that of the spaghetti western, loved all over the world.
It debuted on the set in Baby Doll (1956) and over the decades he was cast in many films of particular prestige. From The magnificent seven (1960), the artistic journey continued under the banner of works such as The displaced (1961), Crazy (1987), The Godfather – Part III (1990), Love does not go on vacation (2006) and Wall Street – Money never sleeps (2010). To recognize his contribution on the big screen, in 2011 he received – deservedly – theLifetime Achievement Oscar.