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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Obituary - New York Times

Lee Van Cleef, 64;
Actor Was a Villain In Many Westerns

OXNARD, Calif., Dec. 16 (AP) - Lee Van Cleef, the film actor whose steely eyes and rugged features led to a long career portraying Western arch-villains, died Saturday, apparently of a heart attack at St. John's Regional Medical Center. He was 64 years old and lived in Oxnard.

Mr. Van Cleef, who had a history of heart disease, collapsed at his home, about 60 miles north of Los Angeles, late Friday night, said a deputy Ventura County coroner, Craig Stevens.

Mr. Van Cleef got his first film break as one of the desperadoes faced down by Gary Cooper in the 1952 movie "High Noon." He went on to play a series of gunmen and caught the eye of the Italian director Sergio Leone, famous for his "spaghetti Westerns."

Their association led to Mr. Van Cleef's starring in "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," portraying "the bad."

Among Mr. Van Cleef's other film credits were the Westerns "A Fistful of Dollars" 'For a Few Dollars More," 'Take a Hard Ride," "Sabata," "El Condor" and "The Magnificent Seven Ride!"

"I believe in showing real violence, not toy violence," Mr. Van Cleef said in a 1970 interview. "Real violence turns you off because you know it's not the thing to do. if you show violence realistic enough, people don't want to do it."

Lee Van Cleef was born in Somerville, N.J., on Jan. 9,1925. His first job was as a farm worker in his home state. He then worked as an accountant in Somerville before beginning in his movie career in 1950.

He is survived by his wile, the former Barbara Havelone, and three children Prom a previous marriage, Alan, Deborah and David.


  1. Sure miss Lee! When are we going to see someone on screen that can impress us with his face, acting and tough guy image like Lee or a young Clint or Lee Marvin or Jack Palance or Charles Bronson? They just don't make then that way anymore?

  2. *sigh, they sure don't...too bad too.