Lee Van Cleef Overview:

Character actor, Lee Van Cleef, was born Clarence Leroy Van Cleef Jr. on Jan 9, 1925 in Somerville, NJ. Van Cleef died at the age of 64 on Dec 16, 1989 in Oxnard, CA and was laid to rest in Forest Lawn (Hollywood Hills) Cemetery in Los Angeles, CA.


Lean, dark-haired, narrow-eyed American actor, almost entirely confined to westerns. After he switched to acting instead of taking over his father's accountancy business, he spent more than a decade in films as ugly villains (with the occasional American Indian thrown in) with itchy trigger fingers. Then he lost his hair, grew a mustache and, recovered from a severe car crash in 1959, pleasantly surprised his fans by becoming a star of spaghetti westerns in the wake of Clint Eastwood. Died from a heart attack.

(Source: available at Amazon Quinlan's Film Character Actors: an Illustrated Directory).



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Lee Van Cleef Quotes:

Teresa: [Showing off the earings she wants him to buy as 'souvenirs'] Tony, you're not even looking at how pretty they are and only 11 American dollars!
Tony Romano: [Looking at her knowingly] Everything around here's 11 bucks!
Teresa: Tony, you like?
Tony Romano: Charge it with the rest.
Teresa: [Happily] Gracias, Tony!
Tony Romano: [Knowingly] See ya later!

[after Mortimer opens safe, Indio declares a cooling off time for the loot]
El Indio: [to Mortimer] And you will wait a month to get your share.
Col. Douglas Mortimer: Naturally!... I'll be in the tavern.

Frank Talby: Third lesson: never get between a gun and its target.

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Lee Van Cleef Facts
One episode of his short-lived TV series, "The Master" (1984), was titled "The Good, The Bad and the Priceless".

Producer Stuart Cohen recently revealed that Van Cleef was considered for the role of Garry in John Carpenter's The Thing (1982), since Carpenter had recently worked with him on Escape from New York (1981).

He was missing the last joint of his middle finger, a disfigurement prominently featured in the climactic gunfight of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966). 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.

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