Welcome to theBad.net Lee Van Cleef Blog! Here you will find information, photos, videos, and some of my opinions of the badman himself.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Remembering Eli Wallach

Many of us were introduced to LVC through his work in Sergio Leone's For a Few Dollars More and The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly.  And while The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly is probably LVC's most iconic role in popular culture, I feel it is Eli Wallach's role of the bandit Tuco, that is the heart and soul of the film.

Wallach passed away today, and leaves behind an unbelievable Hollywood legacy, and over 6 decades of work!

In the mid-90's, during my college days I wrote Eli a fan letter telling him how much I enjoyed his performances as well as telling him a little bit about myself and my aspirations.  He was nice enough to have sent me back a nice signed photo as Tuco inscribed "For Aaron, best wishes and good luck on your career, Eli Wallach".  In the past 2 decades the photo has oxidized and turned a shade of gold... something I think Tuco would approve of!

Thanks for the memories, Eli!


  1. another good one gone.:-( thanks

  2. I'm glad you wrote Eli. It seems he always wrote back to his fans. I was hoping he would have made it to 100. He was close. His first film role was in 1956 in Baby Doll. But Eli had been acting in plays in New York from the 1940's. I think his passion was always the live theater & he seemed to enjoy working in film too. Clint Eastwood said he brought a lot of energy to the set of Good, Bad & Ugly. I think Eli once related how Lee bought a car in Spain & he went on a ride with Lee & maybe Lee's then wife. And when he & Clint arrived in some little town in Spain, there was just one bed available & he & Clint had to sleep together in the same bed & Clint ask him "which side do you want" & Eli said "I'm such a lefty (politically?) that I will take the left side". Eli always seemed to proud of Good, Bad & Ugly & related how much he enjoyed working on that film. But he & Leone, as you may know, got mad at each other over "Fistfull of Dynamite". It seems Leone asked Eli to be in the film & Eli enjoyed Sergio so much that he got out of another job to work with Sergio but the finally decided to go with Rod Steiger in the part. I think Sergio didn't want to do that but the producers insisted so Sergio had to call Eli & tell him the deal was off. Eli threatened to sue & Leone said "get in line" & hung up the phone. They never spoke to each other again...so the story goes.

  3. What a great guy for doing that. I wrote to Clint Eastwood when I was six years old addressed to the Hogs Breath Inn in Carmel. Six months later he sent my mum a birthday card and signed photo. She had it on her wall for 20 years.