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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Greatest Baddie of them all in Westerns: Lee Van Cleef

Mar 8th, 2012
Lee Van Cleef is an actor who made a name as a baddie in cowboy western films
I once saw a movie “Gods Gun”. It is a western with an emotional streak. A boy traumatized during an incident unable to speak and a gun fighter who has become a priest. It a wonderful movie and Lee van Cleef showed why he is such a great star in such roles as he literally becomes Gods gun to kill the evil men and in a last dramatic scene the boy recovers his voice and warns Lee . It is a fitting finale.
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Lee van Cleef acted in nearly a 100 Western and cowboy roles. In most of his roles he played the suave, slick well dressed man with a hat and a cigar who was fast on the gun. His roles as the gunfighter have lived long after Lee passed away in 1989 at the age of 64 of a heart attack.
One has only to see the movie the Good Bad and Ugly to realize the forte of Lee as an actor. There in the role of Angel eyes as the Ugly who faces Clint Eastwood, he is simply superb. Clint Eastwood is no mean actor in such roles, but Lee carried himself with aplomb in the role of the gunslinger out to search a lost gold shipment. his roles in Sabata and Death rides a Horse won him accolades from critics and the public.
Lee also starred in many other films the notable being Death rides a horse , Barquero, The Lost Gun, The man who shot Liberty Wallace and many more. It is to his credit that he continued acting in films right till his death. Hollywood is the poorer for his death. In the eighties he starred in a television series as a Ninja, but the serial was discontinued after 14 episodes.
Earlier Lee had served with the Navy as an accountant and was an Admin Officer at the end of the war. He had many nondescript roles till picked by Sergio Leone for the role of the suave bounty hunter in “For a few Dollars more’. This film was the rise of Lee and after that he never looked back. Lee married thrice, but that is only incidental to his place in the hall of fame as a gunslinger that spread terror to the men who faced him and lived his role to the letter T