Western Star Lee Van Cleef

Celebrities, Celebrity Q&A, People
on July 17, 2005

Whatever happened to actor Lee Van Cleef?
—Gil F., California

Lee Van Cleef died of a heart attack in Oxnard, Calif., in 1989 at age 64. Best known for his villainous roles, Van Cleef was born in Somerville, N.J. (pop. 12,423), and became an accountant. While serving in the Navy, he became involved in amateur theater, fell in love and soon changed his plans. Director Stanley Kramer gave him his breakout role in High Noon in 1952, and in the mid-1960s, the man with a hawk nose and slit eyes became known for his roles in Westerns, including two in which he starred opposite Clint Eastwood—For a Few Dollars More and The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. Van Cleef, who had three children, was married three times.