The great Eli Wallach has passed at the impressive age of 98.
The son of Polish Jews, Mr. Wallach was in constant demand to play nearly every kind of ethnic character on stage and screen in a career that spanned seven decades. He initially burst to prominence on Broadway, where he won a Tony Award for his portrayal of a prideful and buffoonish Sicilian named Mangiacavallo in Tennessee Williams’s “The Rose Tattoo” (1951).
Mr. Wallach became one of the busiest character actors in Hollywood, with more than 150 credits in films and on television. He portrayed a Cambodian warlord in “Lord Jim” (1965), based on a Joseph Conrad novel; the Shah of Khwarezm opposite Omar Sharif in the title role of “Genghis Khan” (1965); and a candy-loving mobster in “The Godfather: Part III” (1990).
He was in a slew of Tennessee Williams productions over his career, but his most iconic role was arguably Tuco, the scheming, duplicitous thorn in Eastwood’s side in the immortal Sergio Leone western The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. “When you have to shoot — shoot — don’t talk.”