Lee Van Cleef

Biography

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 cast him as the tough but decent Col. Mortimer opposite Clint Eastwood in For a Few Dollars More (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.

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Birth Name

Clarence Leroy Van Cleef Jr.

Birth Place

Somerville, New Jersey, USA

Birth Date

1/9/1925

Death Date

12/16/1989
Known For
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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Sentenza / Angel Eyes

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Escape from New York

Hauk

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The Magnificent Seven Ride!

Chris

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Death Rides a Horse

Ryan

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The Big Gundown

Jonathan 'Colorado' Corbett

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Day of Anger

Frank Talby

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Beyond the Law

Billy Joe Cudlip

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Sabata

Sabata

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Return of Sabata

Sabata / Major

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God's Gun

Father John / Lewis

Starring In
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Stirb langsam auf den Philippinen

Col. Mazzarini (archive footage) (uncredited)

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Eurocrime! The Italian Cop and Gangster Films That Ruled the '70s

Self (archive footage)

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Range Rider, Volume 5 is being ordered but customer is getting Rolling Home

El Latigo / ... (3 episodes, 1952-1953)

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The Master

John Peter McAllister / ... (7 episodes, 1984)

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Bruce Lee and Kung Fu Mania

(archive footage)

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Speed Zone

Rock-Skipping Grandfather

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The Commander

Col. Mazzarini

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Armed Response

Burt Roth

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Jungle Raiders

Warren

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Code Name: Wild Geese

China

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Killing Machine

Julot

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Escape from New York

Hauk

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The Octagon

McCarn

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The Hard Way

McNeal

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The Squeeze

Chris Gretchko / Ray Sloan

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Kid Vengeance

McClain

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The Perfect Killer

Harry Chapman

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God's Gun

Father John / Lewis

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Take a Hard Ride

Kiefer

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Escape from Death Row

Frankie Diomede

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Blood Money

Dakota

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Storm Rider

Sheriff Clayton

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The Magnificent Seven Ride!

Chris

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Return of Sabata

Sabata / Major

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Bad Man's River

Roy King

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Captain Apache

Capt. Apache

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Barquero

Travis

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El Condor

Jaroo

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Sabata

Sabata

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Commandos

MSgt. Sullivan

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Beyond the Law

Billy Joe Cudlip

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Day of Anger

Frank Talby

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Death Rides a Horse

Ryan

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The Big Gundown

Jonathan 'Colorado' Corbett

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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Sentenza / Angel Eyes

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For a Few Dollars More

Col. Douglas Mortimer

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How the West Was Won

River Pirate (uncredited)

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The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

Reese

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Die Gnadenlosen Vier

Leo

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The Slowest Gun in the West

Sam Bass

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Ride Lonesome

Frank

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Guns, Girls and Gangsters

Mike

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The Bravados

Alfonso Parral

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The Young Lions

1st Sgt. Rickett

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Day of the Badman

Jake Hayes

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Frontier Doctor, Vol. 1

Deputy Sid Carver aka Bill Dalton (1 episode, 1958)

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Raiders of Old California

Sgt. Damon Pardee

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The Tin Star

Ed McGaffey

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Gunfight at the O.K. Corral

Ed Bailey

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China Gate

Maj. Cham

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The Quiet gun

Doug Sadler

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Joe Dakota

Adam Grant

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The Lonely Man

Faro

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Accused of Murder

Police Sgt. Emmett Lackey

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Pardners

Gus

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It Conquered the World

Dr. Tom Anderson

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The Conqueror

Chepei

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Tribute to a Bad Man

Fat Jones

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Ein Mann allein

Clanton

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The Naked Street

Harry Goldish (uncredited)

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The Big Combo

Fante

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Fury

Race Collins (1 episode, 1959)

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Ten Wanted Men

Al Drucker

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Buffalo Bill Jr:Vol 2 TV Series

John-O / ... (2 episodes, 1955)

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Treasure of Ruby Hills

Frank Emmett

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The Yellow Tomahawk

Fire Knife

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Arrow in the Dust

Tillotson Henchman

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Rails Into Laramie

Ace Winton

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Dawn at Socorro

Earl Ferris

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Gypsy Colt

Hank

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Princess of the Nile

Hakar (uncredited)

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The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms

Corp. Stone

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Tumbleweed

Marv

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Jack Slade

Bolt Mackay

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Vice Squad

Pete Monte

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The Lawless Breed

Dirk Hanley

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High Noon

Jack Colby

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Der Tag der Vergeltung

Dave Chittun

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Kansas City Confidential

Tony Romano

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The Beast From 20000 fathoms

Cpl. Stone

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