At the age of 97 Eli Wallach is one of the most distinguished actors of our time with a professional life spanning six decades. He built his acclaimed career on brilliantly acted supporting roles in some of the most important and most popular movies and television productions of the past century. He worked alongside the biggest stars of his time, including Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, Clint Eastwood, Yul Brenner and Peter O’Toole. His film credits include: The Magnificent Seven (1960), The Misfits (1961), How the West Was Won (1962), Two Jakes and The Godfather (1990) and more recently Mystic River (2003).
Eli Wallach’s best-remembered film role is his portrayal of Tuco (‘the Ugly’) in Sergio Leone's iconic The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966). Well into his 90s Mr. Wallach continued to work regularly. He last starred on stage as the title character in Visiting Mr. Green in 1997. His last movie role was in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps in 2010. Between 1949 and 2009 Mr. Wallach appeared in numerous television dramas from Hallmark Hall of Fame, Kraft Television Theater and Alfred Hitchcock Presents to E.R. and Nurse Jackie.
Born in Brooklyn in 1915, Wallach was graduated in 1936 from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in history. While attending the University of Texas, Wallach performed in a play with fellow students Ann Sheridan and Walter Cronkite. In an interview on NPR’s Fresh Air, Wallach explained to host Terry Gross that he learned to ride horses at the University of Texas where he took care of the polo ponies. During the filming of The Magnificent Seven, he would ride a few hours with his “gang” each morning.
Mr. Wallach has received BAFTA, Emmy and Tony awards for his work, and in 2010, at the age of 94, he received an Honorary Academy Award for his contribution to the film industry.
For Riverwalk Jazz, Eli Wallach brings to life cornet legend Bobby Hackett in Sweet & Hot: A Salute to Cornetist Bobby Hackett with a script based on excerpts from an interview with Hackett by jazz writer Whitney Balliett. In this dramatic piece, Bobby Hackett reminisces about his encounters with Louis Armstrong.