Lee Van Cleef

Of the most notable actors of the 1980s was Van Cleef, who rose to international fame starring in martial arts and action films. He started his career in the 1965 film “A Few Dollars More” opposite Clint Eastwood, playing a tough but decent anti-hero or western hero. Despite having no dialogue, his performance as Colby Jack in Stanley Kramer’s “High Noon” brought him great recognition. Van Cleef also played memorable villainous characters in crime dramas and westerns, such as “The Big Combo” in 1955. With his steely, slit-eyed gaze and hawk nose, he always seemed destined to keep playing heavies in the realm of westerns. However, he easily transitioned into non-stop martial arts action in the 1984 TV series “The Master” and various martial arts movies. In December 1989, he tragically died of a heart attack and was buried in Forest Lawn Hills in Hollywood. Before his acting career, Van Cleef served in the U.S. Navy aboard chasers and minesweepers during World War II. He also worked as an accountant before getting involved in amateur theatrics and eventually becoming a professional actor. Van Cleef was born in Somerville, New Jersey to Dutch parents, LeRoy Clarence Van Cleef Sr. And Lavinia Marion (Van Fleet) Cleef Jr.


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