“Forgotten Hollywood”- One of the Greats Has Died…

Posted on June 24, 2014 by raideoman1 | No Comments

Manny P. here…482px-Eli_Wallach_-_publicity

   Eli Wallach (right) was one of the great character actors of the last half of the twentieth century. He was a cinematic facilitator of the method approach to acting. His career shined in movies, onstage, and on television for more than 60 years. He was honored with numerous BAFTA Awards, Tonys, and Emmys for his work, and he received an Honorary Academy Award at the 2nd Annual Governors Awards, presented in 2010. Among his most famous roles were in The Magnificent SevenThe Misfits, and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Other fine portrayals included scenes in How the West was Won, Cinderella LibertyThe Godfather Part III,and The Two Jakes. One of America’s most prolific screen actors, he remained active well into his 90s, notably in Mystic River, and in 2010, in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.

   Eli was born in Brooklyn, and gained his first method experience at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theatre in New York City. While attending the University of Texas, Wallach performed in a play with fellow students Ann Sheridan and Walter Cronkite. During World War II, the actor served in the army on Hawaii and in Casablanca.  Members from his unit wrote a play called Is This the Army, which was inspired by Irving Berlin’s This Is the Army. In the comedic play, Wallach and the other men clowned around as various dictators, with Eli portraying Adolf Hitler.

   After the war, he took acting classes at the Dramatic Workshop of the New School in New York. He attended the Actors Studio from its inception, and studied method acting alongside Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, Karl Malden, and Sidney Lumet. Method was where actors draw upon their own memories and emotions to replicate the emotional conditions under which the character operates.

   Wallach made his Broadway debut in 1945, and won a Tony in 1951 for his performance in the Tennessee Williams play The Rose Tattoo. Other stage credits include Mister Roberts and The Teahouse of the August Moon. Broadway theaters will dim their marquee lights Friday night in memory of Eli Wallach. He and his wife Anne Jackson appeared together in 15 plays, becoming one of the best-known acting couples in American theater. The Broadway League said the lights will be dimmed for one minute starting at 7:45p Eastern time.

Eli_Wallach_in_Baby_Doll_trailer   Wallach cinematic career was delayed when he was convinced by questionable friends of Frank Sinatra to turn down the role of Maggio in From Here to Eternity. The part helped Sinatra forge a comeback to motion pictures, culminating in a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for the crooner. Wallach’s motion picture debut was three years later in Elia Kazan’s controversial 1956 Baby Doll. For his performance, he won a BAFTA for Best Newcomer of the Year, and a Golden Globe nod.

   Applying method acting to live small screen anthologies, Wallach appeared in the Philco  Television Playhouse, Lights Out, Studio One, Kraft Television Theatre, Hallmark Hall of Fame, and Playhouse 90. He also was busy in episodic television with roles in The Naked City, Batman, Kojak, Murder She Wrote, L.A. Law, Highway to Heaven, Law & Order, E.R., and Nurse Jackie. He also recently lent his voice to Ken Burns acclaimed documentary, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, and his upcoming production, The Roosevelts, due out in the Fall.  In 2005, he released his autobiography The Good, the Bad and Me: In My Anecdotage. He wrote that he received more fan mail about his role as Mr. Freeze (in Batman) than about all of his other roles combined.

   Turner Classic Movies is appropriately remembering Eli Wallach on June 30th with an 11-hour marathon that begins at 6a Pacific and 9a Eastern. The amazingly talented Eli Wallach was 98.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 24th, 2014 at 10:34 pm and is filed under Blog by Manny Pacheco. You can follow any comments to this post through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.


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