Eli Wallach, who worked for more than 60 years acting in films, television and theater, died yesterday, his daughter Katherine confirmed. The Oscar-winning actor was 98. Mr. Wallach’s first movie was written by Tennessee Williams: Baby Doll (1956), the playwright’s screen adaptation of his 27 Wagons Full of Cotton. Karl Malden and Carroll Baker also starred in the movie, which won Wallach a 1957 BAFTA Film award for playing Silva Vacarro, a Sicilian émigré and the owner of a cotton gin he believes has been torched. Eli and his wife Anne Jackson were a well known acting couple in American theater. In the 1970s the couple toured in The House of Blue Leaves and The Diary of Anne Frank. In 2005 the actor released his autobiography with a cover alluding to his famous film, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, titled The Good, the Bad and Me: In My Anecdotage.
After a lengthy movie career that included memorable films such as The Magnificent Seven, How the West Was Won and The Godfather: Part III, Wallach received an Honorary Academy Award in 2010 for “a lifetime’s worth of indelible screen characters.” Even in his 90s Wallach continued to appear in films and kept his love of the theater alive. In 1997 he told British newspaper The Times, “What else am I going to do? I love to act.” He leaves behind wife Anne and their three children: Peter David, Roberta and Katherine. ~Andrea Hodgins