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Eli Wallach's 'Good' Times
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Eli Wallach's 'Good' Times

Arts & Life

Eli Wallach's 'Good' Times

Elder Statesman of Stage and Screen Recalls Epic Western

Eli Wallach's 'Good' Times
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Web Extra: Listen to the Extended Interview
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Actor Eli Wallach

Actor Eli Wallach in an interview from the special edition DVD. hide caption

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Wallach as Tuco in the film

Wallach as Tuco in the film. hide caption

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In the Sergio Leone classic The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Eli Wallach starred as "The Ugly" — Tuco Benedito Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez.

Since returning to America in 1945 after serving in World War II, Wallach had played many roles before and would play many after, but he is perhaps most often remembered for his gritty portrayal of Tuco, the money-hungry bandit, in what has become the quintessential "spaghetti" western.

A remastered and restored collector's edition DVD of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is being released this month, featuring nearly 20 minutes of footage never seen by American audiences. To restore the film, Eli Wallach and Clint Eastwood had to record new dialogue, nearly 40 years after filming their original roles.

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NPR's Scott Simon talks to Wallach, 88, about his work on the film and about his seven decades on stage and screen. The actor recalls the early days of The Actor's Studio in New York just after its founding in 1947 and reveals the secrets of his successful 57-year marriage to actress Anne Jackson.

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