Lee Van Cleef

Submitted by on Oct 8, 2015

Lee Van Cleef.

Lee Van Cleef (Eng. Lee Van Cleef ; January 9, 1925 – December 16, 1989) – American film actor, known primarily roles in Westerns, where he became famous as an ideal type of “bad guy”. However, sometimes he played and positive characters – for example, a bounty hunter in the film “For a few dollars more».

The most celebrated role of Van Cleef – cold-blooded killer maxims in classic western by Sergio Leone “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” During 37 years of acting career, Lee Van Cleef played 90 roles in film and television productions in the 109.


  • Biography
    • The Early Years
    • Film career
    • The last years and death
  • Selected filmography
  • In pop culture
  • Notes
  • Links

Early Years

Van Cleef was born in Somerville, New Jersey, the son of the descendants of Dutch, Swedish, Belgian and British settlers. During the Second World War he served in the Navy, after the victory, leaving the work of an accountant, he became an actor. His first experiments were scenic, even including a small role in the Broadway musical. The first movie Van Cleef was the classic “High Noon” in which he flashed in a cameo villain. This was followed by several low-budget roles in science fiction films.

Film career

Van Cleef played various minor characters in four episodes of the channel ABC «shooter”in the period between 1959 and 1962.. After he appeared in small roles in various villains westerns. He also played the villain in the 1962 movie classic John Ford’s”The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance”and starred with actors such as James Stewart and John Wayne. He starred in a small role as a river pirates in the movie 1962″How the West Was Won».

In 1958, Van Cleef was in a serious car accident and was forced to temporarily leave acting career. In the period between 1962 and 1965 he worked as an artist at a hotel in Hollywood, I began to drink, but a chance meeting with Sergio Leone helped him. He played the main characters in the two big spaghetti westerns Leone trilogy – “A Few Dollars More”and”The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.”He also played a supporting role in the cult film of John Carpenter’s”Escape from New York”and appeared as a villainous rogue in an episode of”Bonanza”-“Blood Line” (31 December 1960).

In 1970, Van Cleef gave an interview in which mentioned that he often plays in films with excessive display of violence:

I believe in this demonstration of violence, not a toy. This violence knocks you off track, because you know that it is not necessary to do so. If violence appears quite realistic, people do not want to do the same.

In the early 1980s he played John Peter McCallister, “the first native of the West, which has become a ninja”on the NBC series”Master”. His last television appearance took place in 1984, when he left the show “Master”. Episodes of the show were later released and advertised as TV movies.

last years and death

He was buried in the cemetery in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles. On his headstone bears the inscription: “Lee Van Cleef – Jan. 9, 1925 – December 16, 1989 -“The best of the bad”Love and Light».

Selected filmography

Lee Van CleefLee Van Cleef
Lee Van CleefLee Van Cleef
Lee Van CleefLee Van Cleef

Leave a Comment