DEAD: ON THIS DATE
Lee Van Cleef (aged 64)
-American actor (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly)
Clarence Leroy Van Cleef, Jr. (January 9, 1925 – December 16, 1989), was an American actor best known for his roles in Spaghetti Westerns such as For A Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Hatchet-faced with piercing eyes, he had declined to have his nose altered to play a sympathetic character in his film debut, High Noon, and was relegated to a non-speaking outlaw as a result. For a decade he was typecast as a minor villain, his sinister features overshadowing his acting skills. After suffering serious injuries in a car crash, Van Cleef began to lose interest in his apparently waning career by the time Sergio Leone gave him a major role in For a Few Dollars More. The film made him a box-office draw, especially in Europe.
DEATH: Despite suffering from heart disease from the late 1970s and having a pacemaker installed in the early 1980s, Van Cleef continued to work in films until his death on December 16, 1989, at age 64. He collapsed in his home in Oxnard, California from a heart attack. Throat cancer was listed as a secondary cause of death. Van Cleef’s body was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, Hollywood Hills, California, with an inscription on his grave marker referring to his many acting performances as a villain: “BEST OF THE BAD”.