The Best of Eli Wallach

MV5BMTc2NjEwOTQ4Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwODk3NDc3._V1_SX214_CR0,0,214,317_AL_Every so often we find a actor who can fit into every genre and basically looks and feels comfortable in every role they have ever starred in. Eli Wallach is one of those greats. Many people today probably don’t have a clue who he is but he has a very recognisable face and voice. Sadly it was announce today that he had passed away aged 98. That’s another of the Great Hollywood stars gone and not surprisingly the numbers are dwindling. Wallach’s career spanned decades and in these decades he starred with some of the all time greats but most importantly he starred in many films opposite his wife Anne Jackson.

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Wallach was a great method actor and had roles in many films and tv series so I’ve decided to mix things up a bit. Here are my favourite Eli Wallach moments, some may not be expected.

 

The Misfits (1961)

Wallach plays Clark Gable’s best friend in this film and gives a great performance which is often overlooked because it was Gable and Marilyn Monroe’s last ever film.

Here Guido (Wallach) tries to persuade Roslyn (Monroe) to leave Gay (Gable) for him.

 

Nurse Jackie (S01E03, “Chicken Soup”)

Only in one episode but plays a very memorable character, Bernard Zimberg. Wallach certainly proves his acting skills cross over perfectly into a medical drama. To me this is one of the clips I remember most from Season 1. Sorry for the quality

 

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966)

The film starring Clint Eastwood and Eli Wallach. It’s a cowboy film about bounty hunters. I decided upon the trailer because of the iconic accents and theme tune. Who can resist?

 

Murder, She Wrote (S04E13 “A Very Good Year For Murder”)

eli-wallachAgain only in one episode and even to this day I can tell you, without looking, which character he is and what happens in the episode. Billy Zane also makes a guest appearance. Wallach plays a wealthy 75 year old, the family have a birthday party and luckily Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) is invited because someone ends up dead. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a clip but if you live in the UK re-runs are always on of this classic series.

 

Eli Wallach will be missed by the entire world and he should be proud of the work he has left behind. His memorable voice, style and looks will live on.

“As an actor I’ve played more bandits, thieves, killers, warlords, molesters, and Mafiosi than you could shake a stick at.”
~ Eli Wallach

 

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Eleanor Parker, Peter O’Toole & Joan Fontaine

This week has been tough for Old Hollywood fans everywhere. Two of our beloved actresses and one actor have died in the same week. Eleanor Parker, Peter O’Toole and Joan Fontaine are world famous and rightly so, they’ll be sorely missed.

Eleanor Parker- 26th June 1922- 9th December 2013

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Many people don’t realise who this lady is and you really should do. Parker is most famous for playing the Baroness in The Sound of Music. She was an actress that went against convention in the 1940’s and 50’s and this is why she doesn’t get the recognition of some actresses in that era. Parker wouldn’t be pigeonholed into playing one type of character, she wanted to play a variety and she was brilliant at it even if her own personality never shone through.

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Parker as the Baroness

Throughout her career she had ups and downs, as everyone does. She starred with some very well know actors such as Kirk Douglas, Julie Andrews and Errol Flynn. She was also nominated for three Academy Awards. When you watch any of her films you can see she worked hard at her roles and even went as far as to perfect a posh English accent in The Woman in White (1948). She starred in over 80 films and TV series throughout her career venturing into series like the original Hawaii Five-O and Murder, She Wrote. No matter what you films, TV series or stage productions you mention most people will only see her as the Baroness… and even then they don’t know her real name.

Peter O’Toole- 2nd August 1932- 14th December 2013

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Peter O’Toole. Fantastic Actor. Hellraiser. True Legend of the big screen. The guy who liked a few drinks too many. O’Toole was a man with many sides and yet each side defined his work and made it successful. In the 60’s he Richard Burton, Richard Harris and Oliver Reed became known as the Hellraisers and the name stuck.

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O’Toole & Hepburn in How to Steal a Million

O’Toole starred in many films that are still famous and well watched today. He played T.E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia (1962) he played opposite Katharine Hepburn in The Lion in Winter (1968) and no one can forget his fun performance with Audrey Hepburn in How to Steal a Million (1966). He must have starred in close to one hundred films throughout his long career and officially retired last year with this statement: ”It is time for me to chuck in the sponge. To retire from films and stage. The heart for it has gone out of me: it won’t come back.” Said in true O’Toole style. He is one of those unlucky actors never to have won the Best Actor Oscar even though he was nominated 8 times. The Academy Awards gave him an honorary one in 2003.

Peter O’Toole was great because of his commitment and love for the films he was in. Yes he had drink problems but like many of that era it helped his fame. He gave everything 100% and after his performance in Lawrence of Arabia everyone knew his career was destined for bigger things. He also has beautiful blue eyes which really didn’t hurt his chances in colour films.

Joan Fontaine- 22nd October 1917- 15th December 2013

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I was shocked when I heard of Fontaine’s death at 1am this morning. I honestly thought it was a hoax, it seemed too soon after O’Toole’s death to be real. It is however very real with reports from her family that she died in her sleep.

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Courtesy of Getty Images

Fontaine’s sibling rivalry may, to some people, have made her more famous than her acting work did. I don’t believe this one bit. Joan Fontaine was born Joan de Havilland and is Olivia de Havilland’s younger sister. They’ve had a feud for over 50 years and I’m hoping they straightened it out before she passed away.

Fontaine was a well deserved Oscar winner winning in 1947 for To Each His Own. She impressed Alfred Hitchcock with her soft features and big frightened eyes and she starred in two of his films Suspicion and the film that made her famous, Rebecca, opposite Laurence Olivier. Fontaine starred in over 30 films with some of the most recognised stars and directors of the day. She was directed by Billy Wilder in The Emperor Waltz and Fritz Lang in Beyond a Reasonable Doubt.

She made each film her own and didn’t allow the famous men to take the spotlight off of her. She starred opposite Orson Welles, Bing Crosby and Cary Grant and yet never appeared phased or awestruck. She was a strong woman who knew what she wanted and turned her career into a competition with her sister. Fontaine was a graceful beauty that knew how to speak out in a world where that wasn’t the norm.

Hollywood and the rest of the world should mourn the loss of these three Old Hollywood giants. We’re slowly loosing an era that shaped the film industry we know today. The natural beauty of Parker and Fontaine will never be seen in the same way again and the confidence and skill of O’Toole was second to none.

Our thoughts and prayers are with all their families and we hope that you’ll watch one of their films just to prove to yourself the talent that as left the world.

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Clark Gable and Eleanor Parker in The King & Four Queens (1956)

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Joan Fontaine as Mrs. de Winter in Rebecca (1940)

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Angela Lansbury, Happy Birthday!

One of the, “Should be,” Queens of England (She has a CBE, so, we could be getting there), she was born in England and moved to America where the start of her mind blowing career started.

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It’s this amazing lady’s 88th birthday. Now most of you should recognise at least one piece of her work, her career has span over 7 decades. She’s still alive and looking fantastic so, I’m sure- unless I’ve missed the memo of retirement- there could be more to come.

Mrs Potts in Beauty and the Beast?

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Miss Price in Bedknobs and Broomsticks?

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Aunt Adelaide in Nanny McPhee?

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Growing up you must have watched one of these movies, definitely heard the iconic Beauty and the Beast song Tale as old as time (The normal version- do not mention the Kate Price version)

It’s not just kids who are effected by her acting and voice over work. Some of my favourite work she has done, involves her in a TV series which lasted 10 years- And I’ve tried to watch all the episodes and movies, unfortunately I can’t make any promises as this was when they aired repeats on TV and I have a download limit so it’s not exactly possible to download them all as it’s one of America’s longest running detective drama series (12 seasons over 200 episodes)-

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Jessica Fletcher in Murder, She Wrote.

Honestly, I break out into a smile every time I hear the name of this series. It’s 90’s Murder style (well it was filmed in the 80’s/90’s), today it could be vaguely related to the TV series Castle, Jessica Fletcher is an author who gets involved in a murder case where ever she seems to go. There’s hardly any forensic science and the police in this case comes in the form of- in most episodes- a sheriff. The series follows Jessica around as she goes visiting family or just stays in her home town of Cabot Cove, Maine.

Angela Lansbury’s acting as Jessica Fletcher, brings about a case of no one else would have been able to portray that character as perfectly as that, she brings about humour and drama to the series but also their are cases where you can actually relate to the character. She may solve, “Whodunnit,” Crimes in this series but really you want to be asking the Murder, She Wrote crew, “Whodunnit?” To pat whoever suggested Angela Lansbury should play this role on the back.

I hope Angela Lansbury is one of these actresses that is remembered forever, I know, for me personally, she is one of my favourites. Which, means in my house when The Harvey Girls is put on the TV, I’m glued to the screen and will fight anyone who talks as that movie stars both Angela Lansbury and Judy Garland. The number of people Angela Lansbury has starred with, is enough to get any old movie fanatic jealous as she has even starred with dancing Actor Gene Kelly in The Three Musketeers (1948), A.K.A The Movie that makes Natalie cry, but then any movie which Gene looks heart broken and cries, she will cry. Angela Lansbury must know about her brilliance due to the amount of fans she has plus the amount of awards she has received for her work.

Happy Birthday Angela Lansbury! We Love you!