His full name is Clarence Leroy “Lee” Van Cleef, Jr.
His sharp features and piercing eyes led to his being cast as a villain in scores of films, such as Kansas City Confidential, High Noon, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
He played the hero in many of his later movies.
He was also host to a rare genetic mutation, Heterochromia iridium, he was born with one blue and one green eye.
His first acting experiences were on stage, including a small role in the original Broadway production of Mister Roberts.
His first film was the Western classic High Noon.
Both of his parents were of partial Dutch ancestry.
Coming of age just in time for World War II, he served in the United States Navy aboard a submarine chaser in the Caribbean Sea, then in the Black and China seas on a minesweeper.
After the war, he had a brief career as an accountant.
In 1951, he launched his acting career upon the encouragement of friends and family who thought that his looks could make him a success in film.
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