Lee Van Cleef
64 (passed away Dec. 16th, 1989)
Jan. 9th, 1925
Somerville, New Jersey, USA
Lee Van Cleef's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles1990 - Thieves of Fortune
1989 - Speed Zone!
1981 - Escape from New York
1980 - The Octagon
1975 - Take a Hard Ride
1972 - The Magnificent Seven Ride!
1970 - Barquero
1968 - Al di là della legge
1967 - Da uomo a uomo
1962 - How the West Was Won
1962 - The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
1959 - Ride Lonesome
1958 - The Young Lions
1957 - The Lonely Man
1957 - The Tin Star
1957 - Gunfight at the O.K. Corral
1956 - Accused of Murder
1956 - Pardners
1956 - The Conqueror
1956 - It Conquered the World
1955 - The Big Combo
1955 - A Man Alone
1953 - The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms
1952 - High Noon
1952 - Kansas City Confidential
Guest TV Roles
Sheriff Ned Jackson
Deputy Sheriff Braden
One of the great movie villains, Lee Van Cleef started out as an accountant. He served in the U.S. Navy aboard minesweepers and subchasers during World War II. After the war he worked as an office administrator, becoming involved in amateur theatrics in his spare time. An audition for a professional role led to a touring company job in "Mr. Roberts". His performance was seen by Stanley Kramer, who cast him as henchman Jack Colby in High Noon (1952), a role that brought him great recognition despite the fact that he had no dialogue. For the next decade he played a string of memorably villainous characters, primarily in westerns but also in crime dramas such as The Big Combo (1955). His hawk nose and steely, slit eyes seemed destined to keep him always in the realm of heavies, but in the mid-'60s Sergio Leone (I) cast him as the tough but decent Col. Mortimer opposite Clint Eastwood in Per qualche dollaro in pił (1965). A new career as a western hero (or at least anti-hero) opened up, and Van Cleef became an international star, though in films of decreasing quality. In the 1980s he moved easily into action and martial-arts movies, and starred in "The Master" (1984), a TV series featuring almost non-stop martial arts action. He died of a heart attack in December 1989, and was buried at Forest Lawn in the Hollywood Hills.
- During one summer in the early 1950s he was a camp counselor in NYC for Marc Furstenberg.
- Son of Clarence Leroy Van Cleef and wife Maria Lavinia Van Fleet, both mostly of Dutch ancestry.
- One episode of his short-lived TV series, _"The Master" (1984)_ (qv), was titled "The Good, The Bad and the Priceless".
- Was the inspiration for the character Revolver Ocelot in the "Metal Gear" series of games.
- Was portrayed as a bounty hunter in the Lucky Luke comic book "The Bounty Hunter".
- He was missing the last joint of his middle finger, a disfigurement prominently featured in the climactic gunfight of _Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo. (1966)_ (qv). He actually lost it while building a playhouse for his daughter, although there were rumors that it happened in a road accident or a bar fight.
- Interviewed in "Bad at the Bijou" by William R. Horner (McFarland, 1982).
- Was on the shortlist of actors under consideration for 'Brad Whitaker' (qv) the arms dealer in The Living Daylights (1987).
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