1. Iconic American Actor
Lee Van Cleef was an iconic American actor, best known for his roles in westerns and action films. Born Clarence Leroy Van Cleef, Jr. in 1925, he began his career in the 1950s, appearing in a number of television series and films. He quickly gained recognition for his villainous roles, and went on to star in some of the most iconic westerns of all time, including The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and For a Few Dollars More. His career spanned over three decades, and he was posthumously awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1994.
2. Hollywood Icon and Villain
Lee Van Cleef was a Hollywood icon, renowned for his sharp features and piercing eyes. His villainous roles in films such as Kansas City Confidential, High Noon, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, cemented his place in cinematic history. His iconic look and menacing presence made him a perfect choice for villainous roles, and his performances in these films remain some of the most memorable in film history.
3. Iconic Actor Known for His Heroic Roles
Lee Van Cleef was an iconic actor who was renowned for his heroic roles in many of his later movies. He was particularly well-known for his portrayal of the strong, silent type, often playing the hero in Westerns and action films. His most famous roles include Angel Eyes in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Colonel Mortimer in For a Few Dollars More, and the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin and the 7 Hoods. His performances were highly praised and he was often referred to as one of the greatest villains of all time.
4. One of a Kind
Lee Van Cleef was a unique individual, born with a rare genetic mutation known as Heterochromia iridium, which caused him to have one blue eye and one green eye. This mutation is quite uncommon, with only a small percentage of the population having it. It is believed to be caused by a genetic mutation in the iris, which results in the eyes having different colors. Lee Van Cleef was one of the few people to have this mutation, making him stand out from the crowd.
5. Iconic Actor Who Started His Career on the Stage
Lee Van Cleef began his acting career on the stage, making his debut in the original Broadway production of Mister Roberts. He had a small but memorable role in the production, which was a huge success and ran for 1,157 performances. This was the start of a long and successful career for Van Cleef, who went on to become one of the most iconic actors of the 20th century.
6. Western Icon
Lee Van Cleef made his film debut in the 1952 classic Western, High Noon. Starring alongside Gary Cooper, Van Cleef played the role of Jack Colby, a hired gun who is hired to kill Cooper's character, Will Kane. The film was a critical and commercial success, earning seven Academy Award nominations and winning four, including Best Actor for Cooper. Van Cleef's performance was praised by critics, and he went on to become one of the most iconic figures in the Western genre.
7. A Western and Action Film Icon
Lee Van Cleef was a renowned actor of the silver screen, best known for his roles in westerns and action films. Born in New Jersey in 1925, he was of partial Dutch ancestry, with both of his parents tracing their roots back to the Netherlands. His father, Marion Van Fleet, was a real estate and insurance agent, while his mother, Olive Van Cleef, was a homemaker.
8. A Navy Veteran and Actor
Lee Van Cleef was born in 1925, and as he came of age during World War II, he served in the United States Navy aboard a submarine chaser in the Caribbean Sea, as well as a minesweeper in the Black and China seas. His service was a crucial part of the war effort, as his submarine chaser was responsible for detecting and destroying enemy submarines, while his minesweeper was tasked with clearing the seas of mines to ensure safe passage for Allied ships.
9. Accountant Turned Actor
After the war, Lee Van Cleef had a brief but impactful career as an accountant. He worked diligently to ensure the accuracy of financial records and the proper management of funds. His attention to detail and commitment to excellence made him a valuable asset to the companies he worked for, and his work was highly praised by his colleagues. His accounting career was short-lived, however, as he soon decided to pursue a career in acting.
10. Lee Van Cleef's Acting Career
Lee Van Cleef's acting career began in 1951, when his friends and family noticed his striking features and encouraged him to pursue a career in film. After taking their advice, he made his debut in the 1951 film "High Noon" and went on to become one of the most recognizable faces in the Western genre. His career spanned over three decades, and he appeared in over 100 films and television shows, including "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" and "Escape from New York".