Wallach, Eli 1915–

views updated May 11 2018

WALLACH, Eli 1915–

(Ely Wallach)


Born December 7, 1915, in Brooklyn, NY; son of Abraham and Bertha (maiden name, Schorr) Wallach; married Anne Jackson (an actress), March 5, 1948; children: Peter Douglas (a special effects director), Roberta Lee (an actress), Katherine Beatrice (an actress). Education: University of Texas at Austin, B.A., 1936; City College (now City University of New York), M.S., 1938; trained for the stage at Neighborhood Playhouse, 1938–40, and with Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio; studied dance with Martha Graham. Avocational Interests: Woodworking, collecting antiques and clocks, tennis, baseball, architecture, photography, water–color painting, swimming.


Agent—Elizabeth Fredericks, William Morris Agency, 1325 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019.


Actor, voice artist, and writer. WLID–Radio, Brooklyn, NY, actor in radio plays, 1936–38; Actors Studio, New York City, original member of company, beginning 1947, vice president, 1980–81, and teacher; Jewish Repertory Theatre, New York City, member of advisory board, 1991–92; Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre, corporate member and director; Arena Stage, Washington, DC, guest artist. Voice performer for commercials. Also worked as playground director, camp counselor, and hospital registrar. Military service: U.S. Army, Medical Administration Corps, served during World War II; became captain.


Actors' Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

Awards, Honors:

Antoinette Perry Award, best featured actor, New York Drama Critics Poll, Donaldson Award, and Theatre World Award, all 1951, for The Rose Tattoo; Film Award, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, most promising newcomer, 1957, for Baby Doll; Drama League Award, distinguished performance, 1957; Obie Award, Village Voice, distinguished performance, 1963, for The Tiger and The Typists; Emmy Award, best supporting actor in a drama, 1967, for Poppies Are Also Flowers; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding supporting actor in a miniseries or special, 1987, for Something in Common; inducted into Theatre Hall of Fame, 1988; distinguished alumnus award, University of Texas at Austin, 1989; Helen Hayes Award, Washington Theatre Awards Society, 1991; honorary doctorate, School for the Visual Arts, 1991; Edith Oliver Award for Sustained Excellence, Lucille Lortel Awards, League of Off–Broadway Theatres and Producers, 1998; Life in Theatre Award, T. Schreiber Studio, 2000; Golden Boot Award, Motion Picture and Television Fund, 2001; Jury Award, Newport International Film Festival, best actor, 2004, for King of the Corner; honorary degree from Emerson College.


Stage Appearances:

Title role, Liliom, Curtain Club, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, 1936.

The Bo Tree, Locust Valley, NY, 1939.

(Broadway debut) Crew chief, Skydrift, Belasco Theatre, 1945.

Cromwell, King Henry VIII, American Repertory Theatre, International Theatre, New York City, 1946–47.

Spintho, Androcles and the Lion (double–bill with A Pound on Demand), American Repertory Theatre, International Theatre, 1946–47.

Member of ensemble, What Every Woman Knows, American Repertory Theatre, International Theatre, 1946–47.

Busch, Yellow Jack (one–act), American Repertory Theatre, International Theatre, 1947.

The Duck, Two of Spades, and Leg of Mutton, Alice in Wonderland, American Repertory Theatre, International Theatre, 1947.

Diomedes and messenger, Antony and Cleopatra, Martin Beck Theatre, New York City, 1948.

Stefanowski, Mister Roberts, Alvin Theatre, New York City, 1949.

Alvarro Mangiacavallo, The Rose Tattoo, Martin Beck Theatre, 1951.

Kilroy, Camino Real, National Theatre, New York City, 1953.

Dickon, Scarecrow, Theatre De Lys (now Lucille Lortel Theatre), New York City, 1953.

Julien, Mademoiselle Colombe, Longacre Theatre, New York City, 1954.

(London debut) Sakini, The Teahouse of the August Moon, Her Majesty's Theatre, 1954, then Martin Beck Theatre, 1955.

Bill Walker, Major Barbara, Martin Beck Theatre, 1956.

Old Man Ionesos, "The Chairs" in The Chairs and The Lesson (double–bill), Phoenix Theatre, New York City, 1958.

Willie, The Cold Wind and the Warm, Morosco Theatre, New York City, 1958–59.

Berenger, Rhinoceros, Longacre Theatre, 1961.

Brecht on Brecht, Theatre De Lys, 1962–63.

Ben, The Tiger, and Paul XXX, The Typists, (double–bill), Orpheum Theatre, New York City, 1963, then Globe Theatre, London, 1964.

Milt Manville, Luv, Booth Theatre, New York City, 1964.

Charles Dyer, Staircase, Biltmore Theatre, New York City, 1967–68.

Ollie H. and Wesley, Promenade All!, Alvin Theatre, New York City, 1972.

General St. Pe, The Waltz of the Toreadors, Circle in the Square, New York City, then Eisenhower Theatre, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, DC, 1973.

Peppino, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Martin Beck Theatre, 1974.

Arthur Canfield, The Sponsor, Peachtree Playhouse, Atlanta, GA, 1975.

Colin, Absent Friends, Long Wharf Theatre, New Haven, CT, then Eisenhower Theatre, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, later Royal Alexandra Theatre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, all 1977.

Otto Frank, The Diary of Anne Frank, Theatre Four, New York City, 1978–79.

The Neighborhood Playhouse at Fifty: A Celebration, Shubert Theatre, New York City, 1978.

Alexander, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, Metropolitan Opera House, New York City, then Concert Hall, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, both 1979.

Leon Rose, "A Need for Brussels Sprouts," and Gus Frazier, "A Need for Less Expertise," in Twice Around the Park (double–bill), Syracuse Stage, Syracuse, NY, 1981, then Cort Theatre, New York City, 1982, later Edinburgh Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1984.

Stephan Aleksey Sudakov, The Nest of the Woodgrouse, New York Shakespeare Festival, Estelle R. Newman Theatre, Public Theatre, New York City, 1984.

The Flowering Peach, Coconut Grove Playhouse, Coconut Grove, FL, 1986.

Monsieur Paul Vigneron, Opera Comique, Eisenhower Theatre, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 1987.

Waitin' in the Wings: The Night the Understudies Take Center Stage, Triplex International Theatre Festival, Triplex Theatre, New York City, 1988.

David Cole, Cafe Crown, New York Shakespeare Festival, Estelle R. Newman Theatre, Public Theatre, 1988, then Brooks Atkinson Theatre, New York City, 1989.

The Players Club Centennial Salute, Shubert Theatre, 1989.

Marley's ghost and Fezziwig, A Christmas Carol, Hudson Theatre, New York City, 1990.

Gregory Solomon, The Price, Roundabout Theatre Company, Criterion Center Stage Right Theatre, New York City, 1992.

In Persons, Kaufman Theatre, New York City, 1993.

Noah, The Flowering Peach, National Actors Theatre, Lyceum Theatre, New York City, 1994.

Mr. Green, Visiting Mr. Green, Stockbridge, MA, 1996, later Coconut Grove Playhouse, 1997, then Union Square Theatre, New York City, 1997.

Dear Heartsey (staged reading), Colden Auditorium, Queens College of the City University of New York, Flushing, NY, 1998.

Host and narrator, Genius in Love, Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts, Brooklyn, NY, 1999.

Tennessee Williams Remembered, Arclight Theatre, New York City, 1999, then Bay Street Theatre, Sag Harbor, NY, 2003.

Sid Garden, Down the Garden Paths, George Street Theatre, New Brunswick, NJ, 1999, then Minetta Lane Theatre, New York City, 2000–2001.

A Shakespearean Tribute to the Late Sir John Gielgud, Kaye Playhouse, Hunter College of the City University of New York, New York City, 2000.

Brave New World, Town Hall Theatre, New York City, 2002.

An Evening with Eli Wallach, Martin E. Segal Theatre, Graduate Center of the City University of New York, New York City, 2003.

The Atrain Plays, Kaye Playhouse, Hunter College of the City University of New York, 2003.

Cohost, My New York (benefit performance), Lucille Lortel Theatre, 2004.

Remembering Anne Frank on Her 75th Birthday, Martin E. Segal Theatre, Graduate Center of the City University of New York, 2004.

In Persons, John Drew Theatre, Guild Hall, East Hampton, NY, 2005.

Love 'n Courage (benefit performance), Theatre for the New City, New York City, 2005.

Also appeared in This Property Is Condemned, Equity Library Theatre, New York City; and in Lady from the Sea and What Every Woman Knows, both New York City productions.

Stage Appearances; Major Tours:

Alvarro Mangiacavallo, The Rose Tattoo, U.S. cities, 1951.

Sakini, The Teahouse of the August Moon, U.S. cities, 1956.

Ben, The Tiger, and Paul XXX, The Typists, (double–bill), U.S. cities, 1966.

Ollie H. and Wesley, Promenade All!, U.S. cities, 1971.

General St. Pe, Waltz of the Toreadors, U.S. cities, 1973–74.

Colin, Absent Friends, U.S. cities, 1977.

Alexander, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, U.S. cities, 1979.

Also toured in a production of The House of Blue Leaves.

Film Appearances:

Danger, 1952.

Silva Vacarro, Baby Doll, Warner Bros., 1956.

Dancer, The Lineup, Columbia, 1958.

Calvera, The Magnificent Seven, United Artists, 1960.

Poncho/Baron von Roelitz, Seven Thieves, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1960.

Guido, The Misfits, United Artists, 1961.

John, Adventures of a Young Man (also known as Ernest Hemingway's "Adventures of a Young Man" and Hemingway's "Adventures of a Young Man"), Twentieth Century–Fox, 1962.

Charlie Gant, How the West Was Won, Cinerama, 1962.

Sergeant Craig, The Victors, Columbia, 1963.

Warren Stone, Act One, Warner Bros., 1964.

Rodriguez Valdez, Kisses for My President (also known as Kisses for the President), Warner Bros., 1964.

Stratos, The Moon–Spinners, Buena Vista, 1964.

Shah of Khwarezm, Genghis Khan (also known as Dschingis Khan and Dzingis–Kan), Columbia, 1965.

The General, Lord Jim, Columbia, 1965.

David Leland, How to Steal a Million (also known as How to Steal a Million Dollars and Live Happily Ever After), Twentieth Century–Fox, 1966.

Tuco Benedito Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez (The Ugly), The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (also known as The Good, the Ugly, and the Bad, El bo, el lleig I el dolent, El bueno, el feo y el malo, and Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo), United Artists, 1967.

Ben Harris, The Tiger Makes Out, Columbia, 1967.

Harry Hunter, How to Save a Marriage (and Ruin Your Life) (also known as Band of Gold), Columbia, 1968.

Tennessee Fredericks, A Lovely Way to Die (also known as A Lovely Way to Go), Universal, 1968.

Cab driver, New York City—The Most (documentary), 1968.

Cacopoulos, Revenge at El Paso (also known as Ace High, Four Gunmen of Ave Maria, Have Gun Will Travel, Revenge in El Paso, and Il quattro dell'ave Maria), Paramount, 1969.

Frankie Scannapieco, The Brain (also known as Le cerveau and Il cervello), Paramount, 1969.

Ben Baker, MacKenna's Gold, Columbia, 1969.

Napoleon Bonaparte, The Adventures of Gerard (also known as Adventures of Brigadier Gerard and Le avventure di Gerard), United Artists, 1970.

Store clerk, The Angel Levine, United Artists, 1970.

Arthur Mason, The People Next Door, Avco Embassy, 1970.

Mario Gambretti, Zigzag (also known as False Witness and Zig–Zag), Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer, 1970.

Kifke, Romance of a Horse Thief (also known as Le roman d'un voleur de chevaux), Allied Artists, 1971.

Sotto a chi tocca! (also known as Besos para Ella, Punetazos para todos and Vier Froehliche Rabauken), 1972.

Lozoya, Viva la muerte … Tuya! (also known as Don't Turn the Other Cheek, The Killer from Yuma, Long Live Your Death, Viva le muerte … Tua!, and Zwei wilde companeros), 1972, International Amusement Corp., 1974.

Lynn Forshay, Cinderella Liberty, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1973.

Don Vittorio, Crazy Joe, Columbia, 1974.

Narrator, L'Chaim–To Life!, 1974.

Sheriff Edward Gideon (Blackjack), Il bianco, il giallo, il nero (also known as Shoot First … Ask Questions Later, Samurai, White, Yellow, Black, El blanco, el amarillo, y el negro, and Le blanc, le jaune et le noir), CIDIF, 1975.

Ras (some sources cite Cesare), Attenti al buffone! (also known as Eye of the Cat), Medusa Distribuzione, 1975.

Monsignor, Nasty Habits (also known as The Abbess), Brut, 1976.

Benjamin Franklin, Independence (short film), Twentieth Century–Fox, 1976.

Joe, Stateline Motel (also known as Last Chance, Last Chance for a Born Loser, Last Chance Motel, Motel of Fear, and L'ultima chance), International Cinefilm–NMD, 1976.

Detective Pietro Riccio, … E tanta paura (also known as Plot of Fear and Too Much Fear), 1976.

Adam Coffin, The Deep, Columbia, 1977.

General Tom Reser, The Domino Principle (also known as The Domino Killings and El domino principe), Avco Embassy, 1977.

Detective Gatz, The Sentinel, Universal, 1977.

Rabbi Gold, Girlfriends, Warner Bros., 1978.

Vince Marlowe, "Dynamite Hands," and Pop, "Baxter's Beauties of 1933," Movie Movie, Warner Bros., 1978.

(As Ely Wallach) Gerolamo Giarra, Squadra antimafia (also known as Little Italy), 1978.

Man in oil, Circle of Iron (also known as The Silent Flute), Avco Embassy, 1979.

Sal Hyman, Firepower, Associated Film Distribution, 1979.

Joe Diamond, Winter Kills, Avco Embassy, 1979.

Ritchie Blumenthal, The Hunter, Paramount, 1980.

Himself, Acting: Lee Strasberg and the Actors Studio (documentary), Davada Enterprises, 1981.

Lieutenant General Leporello, The Salamander (also known as La salamandra), ITC, 1983.

Sam Orowitz, Sam's Son, Invictus, 1984.

Leon B. Little, Tough Guys, Buena Vista, 1986.

Himself, Hello Actors Studio (documentary), Actors Studio, 1987.

Dr. Herbert A. Morrison, Nuts, Warner Bros., 1987.

Hollywood Uncensored (documentary), Castle Hill, 1987.

"The Sahara Forest" and "Climbed up the Ladder and Had Her," Funny, Original Cinema, 1988.

Narrator, Terezin Diary, 1989.

Rosengarten (also known as The Rose Garden), 1989.

Smoke, 1990.

Cotton Weinberger, The Two Jakes, Paramount, 1990.

Don Altobello, Mario Puzo's The Godfather, Part III (also known as The Godfather, Part III), Paramount, 1990.

Sam Abrams, Article 99, Orion, 1992.

George Lieberhoff, Mistress (also known as Hollywood Mistress), Rainbow Releasing/Tribeca Productions, 1992.

Peck, Night and the City, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1992.

Don Siro, Honey Sweet Love (also known as Caro dolce amore and Miele dolce amore), 1994.

Sheldon Dodge, Two Much (also known as Loco de amor), Buena Vista, 1995.

Donald Fallon, The Associate, Buena Vista, 1996.

Strasser, Uninvited (also known as L'escluso), Vine International, 1999.

Rabbi Ben Lewis, Keeping the Faith, Touchstone, 2000.

The rebbe, Advice and Dissent (short film), Film Shack/Leibco Films, 2002.

Cinerama Adventure (documentary), Cinerama, 2002.

The Root, 2003.

(Uncredited) Mr. Loonie, Mystic River, Warner Bros., 2003.

Reader, The Education of Gore Vidal (documentary), 2003.

Broadway: The Golden Age, by the Legends Who Were There (documentary; also known as Broadway, Broadway: The Golden Age, and Broadway: The Movie), Dada Films, 2004.

Sol Spivak, King of the Corner, Elevation Filmworks/Ardustry Entertainment, 2004.

Voices, Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson (documentary), Paramount Home Video, 2004.

Voice of the father, The Moon and the Son, 2005.

Narrator, The Easter Egg Adventure (animated), First Look Home Entertainment, 2005.

Film Work:

(Uncredited) Producer, The Tiger Makes Out, Columbia, 1967.

Television Appearances; Series:

Narrator, The Dream Factory, 1975.

Vincent Danzig, Our Family Honor, ABC, 1985–86.

Cohost, Character Studies, PBS, 2005.

Also host of the series Directions, ABC.

Television Appearances; Miniseries:

Gus Farber, Seventh Avenue, NBC, 1977.

Ben Ezra, Harold Robbins' "The Pirate" (also known as The Pirate), CBS, 1978.

Uncle Vern Damico, The Executioner's Song, NBC, 1982.

Father Hernando DeTalavera, Christopher Columbus (also known as Cristoforo Colombo), CBS, 1985.

Frank Latella, Vendetta: Secrets of a Mafia Bride (also known as Bride of Violence, A Family Matter, A Woman of Honor, and Dona d'onore,), syndicated, 1991.

Frank Latella, Vendetta II: The New Mafia (also known as Bride of Violence 2, Vendetta 2, and Dona d'onore 2), syndicated, 1993.

Voice, Baseball (also known as The History of Baseball), PBS, 1994.

Narrator, "The Western," American Cinema, PBS, 1995.

Narrator, Sex and the Silver Screen, Showtime, 1996.

Voice, "New York: A Documentary Film," American Experience, PBS, 1999.

Television Appearances; Movies:

Dr. Frank Enari, A Cold Night's Death (also known as The Chill Factor), ABC, 1973.

DeWitt Foster, Indict and Convict, ABC, 1974.

Olan Vacio, Fugitive Family, CBS, 1980.

Sal Galucci, The Pride of Jesse Hallam, CBS, 1981.

Bert Silverman, Skokie (also known as Once They Marched through a Thousand Towns), CBS, 1981.

Mauritzi Apt, The Wall, CBS, 1982.

Dr. William Hitzig, Anatomy of an Illness, CBS, 1984.

Dr. Huffman, Murder: By Reason of Insanity (also known as My Sweet Victim), CBS, 1985.

Norman Voss, Something in Common, CBS, 1986.

Yacov, The Impossible Spy, HBO, 1987.

Moses Zelnick (some sources cite Moses Resnick), Legacy of Lies, USA Network, 1992.

Bill Presser, Teamster Boss: The Jackie Presser Story (also known as Life on the High Wire and Teamster Boss), HBO, 1992.

Deluca, Naked City: Justice with a Bullet, Showtime, 1998.

Erich, The Bookfair Murders, CTV (Canada), 2000.

Leonard Goldenson, Monday Night Mayhem, TNT, 2002.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

"The Beautiful Bequest," The Philco Television Playhouse, NBC, 1949.

"Rappaccini's Daughter," Lights Out, NBC, 1951.

"The System," Danger, CBS, 1952.

Maigret, "Stan, the Killer," Summer Studio One (also known as Studio One), CBS, 1952.

"Deadlock," The Web, CBS, 1952.

"The Portrait," Armstrong Circle Theatre, 1952.

"The Baby," The Philco Television Playhouse, NBC, 1953.

"The Brownstone," Goodyear Playhouse, NBC, 1954.

"Delicate Story," Kraft Television Theatre, 1954.

"Shadow of the Champ," The Philco Television Playhouse, NBC, 1955.

"Mr. Blue Ocean," General Electric Theatre, CBS, 1955.

Nacho, "The Outsiders," The Philco Television Playhouse, NBC, 1955.

Cristof, "A Fragile Affair," The Kaiser Aluminum Hour, NBC, 1956.

Guest, Toast of the Town (also known as The Ed Sullivan Show), 1956, 1970.

Peter Hendon, "The Man Who Wasn't Himself," Studio One, CBS, 1957.

"The World of Nick Adams," The Seven Lively Arts, CBS, 1957.

Albert Anastasia, "Albert Anastasia—His Life and Death," Climax!, CBS, 1958.

Poskrebyshev, "The Plot to Kill Stalin," Playhouse 90, CBS, 1958.

Raymond Perez, "My Father the Fool," Desilu Playhouse (also known as Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse), CBS, 1958.

Simon, "The Emperor's New Clothes," Shirley Temple's Storybook, NBC, 1958.

"The Death of Paul Dane," Suspicion, NBC, 1958.

Rafael, "For Whom the Bell Tolls: Parts 1 & 2," Playhouse 90, CBS, 1959.

"The Blue Men," Playhouse 90, CBS, 1959.

Sancho Panza, "I, Don Quixote," The DuPont Show of the Month, CBS, 1959.

"The Margaret Bourke–White Story," Sunday Showcase, NBC, 1960.

Joseph Lanowski, "Birthright," Goodyear Theatre (also known as Alcoa/Goodyear Theatre), NBC, 1960.

"Lullaby," Play of the Week, syndicated, 1960.

"Hope is the Thing with Feathers," Robert Herridge Theatre, CBS, 1960.

Detective Bane, "A Death of Princes," Naked City, ABC, 1960.

"A Bit of Glory," Outlaws, NBC, 1962.

George Manin, "A Run for the Money," Naked City, ABC, 1962.

Manny Jacobs, "Tomorrow, the Man," The Dick Powell Show, NBC, 1962.

Pantomime Quiz, 1963.

Mystery guest, What's My Line?, 1965.

"Carol Channing vs. Eli Wallach," Password, 1965.

Mr. Freeze, "Ice Spy," Batman, ABC, 1967.

Mr. Freeze, "The Duo Defy," Batman, ABC, 1967.

Doug Lambert, "Dear Friends," CBS Playhouse, CBS, 1967.

Personality, 1968.

Guest, Rowan & Martin's Laugh–In, 1969.

Guest, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, NBC, multiple appearances, 1970–72.

James Johnson Scott, "Legal Maneuver," The Young Lawyers, ABC, 1971.

"Paradise Lost," N.E.T. Playhouse, PBS, 1971.

"The Typists," Hollywood Television Theatre, PBS, 1971.

Fuzzy, "Compliments of the Season," Orson Welles' "Great Mysteries" (also known as Great Mysteries), syndicated, 1973.

Lee Curtin, "A Question of Answers," Kojak, CBS, 1975.

Gerry Williams (the target), "Shatterproof," Tales of the Unexpected, syndicated, 1981.

"Tommy Howell," An American Portrait, CBS, 1985.

"The Silver Maiden," Shortstories, Arts and Entertainment, 1986.

Tim Charles, "To Bind the Wounds," Highway to Heaven, NBC, 1986.

"The Black Tomb," Worlds Beyond, 1986.

Guest, Late Night with David Letterman, 1986, 1990.

Gene Malloy, "A Father's Faith," Highway to Heaven, NBC, 1987.

Salvatore Gambino, "A Very Good Year for Murder," Murder, She Wrote, CBS, 1988.

Yosef Kandinsky, "Kandinsky's Vault," Alfred Hitchcock Presents, USA Network, 1988.

Judge Adam Biel, "There Goes the Judge," L.A. Law, 1991.

Simon Vilanis, "The Working Stiff," Law & Order, NBC, 1992.

Narrator, "Once There Was a Tree," Reading Rainbow, 1994.

Inside the Actors Studio, Bravo, 1998.

Joe Franlangelo, "Kids: Part 1," 100 Centre Street, Arts and Entertainment, 2001.

Jay Bickford, "I Never Schlunged My Father," The Education of Max Bickford, CBS, 2002.

Jay Bickford, "Genesis," The Education of Max Bickford, CBS, 2002.

Jay Bickford, "One More Time," The Education of Max Bickford, CBS, 2002.

Mr. Weiss, "Betrayal," The Job, ABC, 2002.

Mr. Langston, "A Boy Falling Out of the Sky" (also known as "Shifts Happen"), ER, NBC, 2003.

Norman, "American Woman," Whoopi, NBC, 2004.

Also appeared in the series Backstory, AMC.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Dauphin, "The Lark," Hallmark Hall of Fame, NBC, 1957.

Dan, "Where Is Thy Brother?," Jewish Appeals Special, NBC, 1958.

Narrator, Gift of the Magi, 1958.

"Happy" Locarno, Poppies Are Also Flowers (also known as Danger Grows Wild, The Opium Connection, The Poppy Is Also a Flower, and Mohn ist auch eine blume), ABC, 1966.

Presenter, The 22nd Annual Tony Awards, NBC, 1968.

Leo, "Paradise Lost," Great Performances, PBS, 1974.

Narrator, Houston, We've Got a Problem, 1974.

"Twenty Shades of Pink," General Electric Theatre, CBS, 1976.

"The Film Society of Lincoln Center: A Tribute to John Huston," Live from Lincoln Center, PBS, 1980.

The Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts, CBS, 1984.

The ABC All–Star Spectacular, ABC, 1985.

Mr. Prince, "Rocket to the Moon," American Playhouse, PBS, 1986.

We the People 200: The Constitutional Gala, CBS, 1987.

Host and narrator, Hollywood's Favorite Heavy: Businessmen on Primetime TV, PBS, 1987.

The Typists, Arts and Entertainment, 1987.

Narrator, It's Up to Us: The Giraffe Project, PBS, 1988.

Ira Abrams, "A Matter of Conscience" (also known as "Silent Witness"), CBS Schoolbreak Special, CBS, 1989.

"Sanford Meisner: The American Theatre's Best Kept Secret," American Masters, PBS, 1990.

Himself, The Godfather Family: A Look Inside, HBO, 1990.

Voice, "Coney Island," The American Experience, PBS, 1991.

"Helen Hayes: First Lady of the American Theatre," American Masters, PBS, 1991.

Michael Landon: Memories with Laughter and Love, NBC, 1991.

"Miracle on 44th Street: A Portrait of the Actors Studio," American Masters, PBS, 1991.

World War II: A Personal Journey, The Disney Channel, 1991.

Voice of William H. Crook, Lincoln, ABC, 1992.

Street Scenes: New York on Film, AMC, 1992.

Voice, "The Donner Party," The American Experience, PBS, 1992.

Narrator, It's Alive: The True Story of Frankenstein, Arts and Entertainment, 1994.

Voice, River of Steel, PBS, 1994.

Narrator, Elia Kazan: A Director's Journey, AMC, 1995.

Voices of Horace Greeley and Henry Bergh, P. T. Barnum: America's Greatest Showman, The Discovery Channel, 1995.

Voice, "The Way West" (also known as "The West"), The American Experience, PBS, 1995.

(In archive footage) Ennio Morricone, BBC (England), 1995.

"Yul Brynner: The Man Who Was King," Biography, Arts and Entertainment, 1995.

"Marilyn Monroe: The Mortal Goddess," Biography, Arts and Entertainment, 1996.

Interviewee, Clark Gable: Tall, Dark, and Handsome, TNT, 1996.

Cronkite Remembers (also known as Walter Cronkite Remembers), CBS, 1996.

The 50th Annual Tony Awards, CBS, 1996.

Narrator, The Man Who Drew Bug–Eyed Monsters, PBS, 1996.

Narrator, The Moviemakers: Arthur Penn (also known as Arthur Penn), PBS, 1996.

Narrator, The Moviemakers: Robert Wise (also known as Robert Wise), PBS, 1996.

Narrator, The Moviemakers: Stanley Donen (also known as Stanley Donen), PBS, 1996.

Interviewee, James Dean: A Portrait, 1996.

Voice, Mary Lincoln's Insanity File, The Discovery Channel, 1996.

Interviewee, Marilyn Monroe: The Mortal Goddess, Arts and Entertainment, 1996.

Voices of Pinchas Freudiger and David Ben–Gurion, The Trial of Adolf Eichmann, PBS, 1997.

20th Century–Fox: The First 50 Years, AMC, 1997.

Interviewee, Karl Malden: Workingman's Actor, Arts and Entertainment, 1998.

Interviewee, Lee Strasberg: The Method Man, Arts and Entertainment, 1998.

Interviewee, Steve McQueen: The E! True Hollywood Story, E! Entertainment Network, 1998.

Interviewee, Tennessee Williams, Arts and Entertainment, 1998.

Narrator, Jones Beach: An American Riviera, PBS, 1999.

Narrator, The Lives of Lillian Hellman, PBS, 1999.

Interviewee, Tony Randall: Center Stage, Arts and Entertainment, 1999.

Guns for Hire: The Making of "The Magnificent Seven," Channel 4 (England), 2000.

Interviewee, "Clint Eastwood: Out of the Shadows," American Masters, PBS, 2000.

In Our City: New Yorkers Remember September 11th, PBS, 2002.

The 100 Greatest Movie Stars, Channel 4, 2003.

Voice, Horatio's Drive: America's First Road Trip, PBS, 2003.

"Making 'The Misfits'," Great Performances, PBS, 2003.

Steve McQueen: The Essence of Cool, TNT and TCM, 2005.

Television Appearances; Pilots:

Joe Verga, Embassy, ABC, 1985.

Vincent Danzig, Our Family Honor, ABC, 1985.



Hollywood Remembers Marilyn Monroe, Amvest Video, 1989.

Nonsense and Lullabys: Poems, 1992.

Nonsense and Lullabys: Nursery Rhymes, 1992.

Leone's West, Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer/United Artists Home Entertainment, 2004.

The Leone Style, Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer/United Artists Home Entertainment, 2004.


For Stage:

Compiler (with Anne Jackson) Tennessee Williams Remembered, Arclight Theatre, New York City, 1999, then Bay Street Theatre, Sag Harbor, NY, 2003.


(With David Black) The Actor's Audition, 1990.

The Good, the Bad, and Me: In My Anecdotage (memoir), Harcourt, 2005.

Contributor to periodicals, including Films and Filming.


Wallach's portrayal of Don Altobello in the film Mario Puzo's The Godfather, Part III was included in the compilation, The Godfather Trilogy: 1901–1980 (also known as The Godfather Trilogy), 1992.



Thomas, Nicholas, editor, The International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, Volume 3: Actors and Actresses, 4th edition, St. James Press, 2000.

Wallace, Eli, The Good, the Bad, and Me: In My Anecdotage, Harcourt, 2005.


Films in Review, August–September, 1983.

Wallach, Eli

views updated Jun 11 2018


Nationality: American. Born: Brooklyn, New York, 7 December 1915. Education: Attended Erasmus High School; University of Texas, Austin, B.A. 1936; City College of New York, M.Sc. in education 1938; studied acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse school, New York, two years. Military Service: U.S. Army Medical Corps, during World War II. Family: Married the actress Anne Jackson, 1948, son: Peter David, daughters: Roberta and Katherine. Career: 1945—professional stage debut in Skydrift; later roles in Eva Le Gallienne's American Repertory Theatre, 1946–47, Mister Roberts, 1949–51, The Rose Tattoo, 1951, Camino Real, 1953, Major Barbara, 1956, and The Chairs, 1958; 1956—film debut in Baby Doll; also acted on television from 1958; 1977—in TV mini-series Seventh Avenue; 1977–78—guest artist, with Anne Jackson, at Arena Stage, Washington, D.C.; 1985–86—in TV series Our Family Honor; 1992—voices in TV mini-series Lincoln, and Baseball, 1994; 1995—in TV mini-series Vendetta II: The New Mafia; occasional teacher at Actors Studio, New York.

Films as Actor:


Baby Doll (Kazan) (as Silva Vacarro)


The Line-Up (Siegel) (as Dancer)


Seven Thieves (Hathaway) (as Pancho); The Magnificent Seven (John Sturges) (as Calvera)


The Misfits (Huston) (as Guido)


Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man (Adventures of a Young Man) (Ritt) (as John)


"The Outlaws" ep. of How the West Was Won (Hathaway) (as Charlie Gant); The Victors (Foreman) (as Sergeant Craig); Act One (Schary) (as Warren Stone)


Kisses for My President (Bernhardt) (as Rodriguez Valdez); The Moon-Spinners (Neilson) (as Stratos)


Genghis Khan (Levin) (as Shah of Khwarezm); Lord Jim (Richard Brooks) (as the General)


How to Steal a Million (Wyler) (as David Leland); Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo (The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly) (Leone) (as Tuco); The Poppy Is Also a Flower (Terence Young) (as Locarno)


The Tiger Makes Out (Hiller) (as Ben Harris)


How to Save a Marriage—and Ruin Your Life (Cook) (as Harry Hunter); New York City—The Most (Pitt—doc) (as cabdriver); A Lovely Way to Die (Rich) (as Tennessee Fredericks); Mackenna's Gold (J. Lee Thompson) (as Ben Baker); Il quattro dell'ave Maria (Ace High; Revenge at El Paso) (Colizzi) (as Cacopoulos)


Le Cerveau (The Brain) (Oury) (as Scannapieco)


Zigzag (False Witness) (Colla) (as Mario Gambretti); The People Next Door (David Greene) (as Arthur Mason); The Angel Levine (Kadar) (as a clerk); The Adventures of Gerard (Skolimowski) (as Napoleon)


Romance of a Horsethief (Polonsky)


Viva la muerte . . . tua! (Don't Turn the Other Cheek; The Killer from Yuma) (Tessari)


L'Ultima chance (Last Chance Motel; Stateline Motel) (Lucidi); Cinderella Liberty (Rydell) (as Lynn Forshay); A Cold Night's Death (Freedman—for TV) (as Frank Enari)


Crazy Joe (Lizzani) (as Don Vittorio); Indict and Convict (Sagal—for TV); L'Chaim—To Life! (Mayer) (as narrator)


Il bianco, il giallo, il nero (Samurai) (Corbucci) (as the sheriff); Attenti al buffone! (Eye of the Cat) (Bevilaqua)


E tanta paura (Cavara) (as the detective); Independence (Huston—short) (as Benjamin Franklin); Twenty Shades of Pink (Stanley); Nasty Habits (The Abbess) (Lindsay-Hogg) (as the Monsignor)


The Sentinel (Winner) (as Gatz); The Deep (Yates) (as Adam Coffin); The Domino Principle (The Domino Killings) (Kramer) (as General Tom Rezer)


Girlfriends (Weill) (as Rabbi Gold); "Baxter's Beauties of 1933" (as Pop), and "Dynamite Hands" (as Vince Marlowe), eps. of Movie Movie (Donen); The Pirate (Annakin—for TV) (as Ben Ezra); Squadra antimafia (Little Italy) (Corbucci)


Winter Kills (Richert) (as Joe Diamond); Circle of Iron (The Silent Flute) (Richard Moore) (as man in oil); Firepower (Winner) (as Sal Hyman)


The Hunter (Kulik) (as Ritchie Blumenthal); Fugitive Family (Krasny—for TV) (as Olan Vacio)


The Salamander (Zinner) (as Leporello); Acting: Lee Strasberg and the Actors Studio (doc); The Pride of Jesse Hallam (Nelson—for TV) (as Sal Galucci); Skokie (Wise—for TV) (as Bert Silverman)


The Wall (Markowitz—for TV); The Executioner's Song (Schiller—for TV) (as Uncle Vern Damico)


Anatomy of an Illness (Heffron—for TV) (as Dr. William Hitzig)


Sam's Son (Landon) (as Sam Orowitz)


Christopher Columbus (Lattuada—for TV) (as Hernando DeTalavera); Embassy (Robert Michael Lewis—for TV); Murder: By Reason of Insanity (Page—for TV) (as Dr. Huffman)


Tough Guys (Kanew) (as Leo B. Little); Rocket to the Moon (Jacobs—for TV) (as Mr. Prince); Something in Common (Glenn Jordan—for TV) (as Norman Voss)


Nuts (Ritt) (as Dr. Herbert A. Morrison); Hello Actors Studio (doc); Worlds Beyond: The Black Tomb (Jacobs—for TV); The Impossible Spy (Goddard—for TV)


Funny (Ferren)


Rosengarten (The Rose Garden) (Rademakers); Terezin Diary (Weissman and Justman)


The Godfather, Part III (Francis Ford Coppola) (as Don Altobello); The Two Jakes (Nicholson) (as Cotton Weinberger)


Vendetta: Secrets of a Mafia Bride (Bride of Violence; A Family Matter) (Margolin—for TV) (as Frank Latella)


Night and the City (Irwin Winkler) (as Peck); Legacy of Lies (Meshover-Iorg—for TV) (as Moses Zelnick); Mistress (Primus) (as George Lieberhoff); Article 99 (Deutsch) (as Sam Abrams); Teamster Boss: The Jackie Presser Story (Reid—for TV) (as Bill Presser)


Smoke (Rissi)


Two Much (Trueba) (as Sheldon); James Dean: A Portrait (Legon—doc) (as himself); Clark Gable: Tall, Dark and Handsome (Susan F. Walker—doc) (as himself); Two Much (Trueba) (as Sheldon); The Associate (Petrie) (as Fallon)


Naked City: Justice with a Bullet (Freilich) (as Deluca)


New York: A Documentary Film (Burns—mini for TV) (as voice); Uninvited (Carlo Gabriel Nero) (as Strasser)


Keeping the Faith (Norton) (as Rabbi Lewis)


By WALLACH: books

The Actor's Audition, with David Black, New York, 1990.

By WALLACH: articles—

"My Strange Dilemma," in Films and Filming (London), August 1961.

"In All Directions," interview in Films and Filming (London), May 1964.

Catsos, G. J. M., "Eli Wallach," in Filmfax (Evanston), February/March 1991.

On WALLACH: articles—

Current Biography 1959, New York, 1959.

Marill, Alvin H., in Films in Review (New York), August-September 1983.

* * *

Eli Wallach started in the theater, returned to it frequently, but achieved his principal identification through film. Wallach began his film career as the sinister sneering con-man lover in the controversial Elia Kazan/Tennessee Williams film Baby Doll. Except for comic presentations later, such as The Tiger Makes Out, Wallach never returned to leading man roles.

His second film, Don Siegel's The Line-Up, set the mold for Wallach. As the nervous psychotic killer Dancer, Wallach moved with grace, decision, and violence. He became a dancer, a choreographer of death, a man who could not understand why fate kept hitting him in the face. Whether comic or serious, Wallach has continually returned to this image and character, the none-too-bright killer who simply does not have the moral depth to understand why the world wants to destroy him. Whether his identity (and Eastern urban accent) is masked as a Latin bandit, as in The Magnificent Seven, or as an urban Italian soldier in The Victors, Wallach has become the epitome of the incredulous colorful villain. He had one of his best roles in this vein in the epic Sergio Leone spaghetti Western The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, where he played the final adjective in the title.

Villainy, however, is but one facet of the actor. Occasionally, in a film such as John Huston's The Misfits, Wallach has portrayed not a killer of men but a man with a potentially dead soul. The pain behind the unloved eyes can be both contemptuous and pitiful. Unfortunately, it is a portrayal of depth that Wallach was seldom allowed to bring to the screen after The Misfits. In more recent films, Wallach's talents and the character type he has evolved have been limited to a decidedly secondary role, often forcing him to rely on the mannerisms which suggest his past portrayals. In the final Steve McQueen film The Hunter, for example, Wallach played a somewhat sympathetic Jewish bailbondsman on the thin edge of emotionalism, a polished but surface role at best.

Wallach, fortunately, is a character actor whom age will not diminish, nor, it seems, slow down. He appears in almost as many movies now as he did in his heyday. Among the most visible recent examples: as a mafioso in The Godfather, Part III, the final installment of Francis Ford Coppola's Corleone saga; The Two Jakes, Jack Nicholson's ill-fated (and ill-advised) sequel to the classic Chinatown; and Irwin Winkler's updated remake of the forties noir thriller Night in the City. Wallach also joined aging contemporaries Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster for the enjoyable septuagenarian caper comedy Tough Guys.

—Stuart M. Kaminsky, updated by John McCarty

Wallach, Eli

views updated May 17 2018


WALLACH, ELI (1915– ), U.S. actor. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Wallach received a B.A. from the University of Texas. He got his dramatic training with the Actors Studio and the Neighborhood Playhouse. He was in the Broadway cast of Mister Roberts in 1949, and in 1951 won a Tony Award for his portrayal of the Sicilian lover in the Tennessee Williams play The Rose Tattoo. In 1954 he appeared in London in Teahouse of the August Moon. With his wife, Anne Jackson, to whom he has been married since 1948, he shared several successes, notably on Broadway in Rhinoceros (1961) and Luv (1964). He also appeared in Staircase (1968); Promenade, All (1972); The Waltz of the Toreadors (1973); Saturday Sunday Monday (1974); Twice around the Park (1982); Café Crown (1989); The Price (1992); and The Flowering Peach (1994).

Wallach made his film debut in 1956 in Baby Doll and had roles in more than 100 movies. Among them are The Lineup (1958); Seven Thieves (1960); The Magnificent Seven (1960); The Misfits (1961); How the West Was Won (1962); Lord Jim (1964); How to Steal a Million (1966); The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966); The Tiger Makes Out (1967); How to Save a Marriage (1968); Mackenna's Gold (1969); The Angel Levine (1970); Cinderella Liberty (1973); Crazy Joe (1974); The Deep (1977); Movie Movie (1978); The Salamander (1980); The Hunter (1980); Tough Guys (1986); Nuts (1987); Terezin Diary (1989); The Godfather, Part 3 (1990); Mistress (1992); Night and the City (1992); Two Much (1995); The Associate (1996); Keeping the Faith (2000); Advice and Dissent (2002); The Root (2003); and King of the Corner (2004).

He also appeared in a host of tv series and tv movies. In 1967 he won a Best Supporting Actor Emmy for his role in the tv movie Poppies Are Also Flowers. His autobiography The Good, the Bad, and Me: In My Anecdotage was published in 2005.

[Jonathan Licht /

Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]

About this article

Eli Wallach

All Sources -
Updated Aug 18 2018 About encyclopedia.com content Print Topic