Lee Van Cleef

Born Jan 9, 1925

Clarence Leroy "Lee" Van Cleef, Jr. was an American film actor who appeared mostly in Westerns and action pictures. 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. After appearing in the last of these films he was propelled to stardom, becoming the hero in many of his later movies.… Read More

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1925 Birth Van Cleef was born on January 9, 1925 in Somerville, New Jersey, the son of Marion Levinia (née Van Fleet) and Clarence LeRoy Van Cleef.


1942 17 Years Old At age 17, he obtained his high school diploma early in his senior year in order to enlist in the United States Navy in September, 1942. … Read More
1943 18 Years Old Van Cleef was married three times. He and his first wife, Patsy Ruth, were married from 1943 until their divorce in 1960. … Read More


1946 21 Years Old By the time of his discharge in March 1946, he had achieved the rank of Sonarman First Class (SO1), and earned his mine sweeper patch. … Read More
1951 26 Years Old …  Van Cleef appeared six times between 1951 and 1955 on the children's syndicated western series The Adventures of Kit Carson, starring Bill Williams. … Read More
1952 27 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1952, he was cast in the episode "Formula for Fear" of the western aviation series Sky King.
1954 29 Years Old In 1954, Van Cleef appeared as Jesse James in the syndicated series, Stories of the Century.


1955 30 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1955, he was cast twice on another syndicated western series, Annie Oakley. … Read More
1958 33 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1958, he was cast as Ed Murdock, a rodeo performer trying to reclaim the title in the event at Madison Square Garden in New York City, on Richard Diamond, Private Detective. … Read More
1959 34 Years Old Van Cleef appeared in 1959 as Luke Clagg in the episode "Strange Request" of the NBC western series Riverboat.
1960 35 Years Old 1 More Event
Van Cleef played a sentry on an episode of the ABC sitcom The Real McCoys, with Walter Brennan. Van Cleef was cast with Pippa Scott and again with Chuck Connors in the 1960 episode "Trial by Fear" of the CBS anthology series The DuPont Show with June Allyson. … Read More
1961 36 Years Old In 1961, he played a role on episode 7 ("The Grave") of the third season of The Twilight Zone.
1962 37 Years Old He played a villainous henchman of Lee Marvin's title character in the 1962 John Ford movie The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.
1963 38 Years Old In 1963, he appeared on Perry Mason (episode: "The Case of the Golden Oranges"). … Read More


1965 40 Years Old In 1965, the actor's career underwent a dramatic change when Sergio Leone cast Van Cleef, whose career was still in the doldrums, as one of the two protagonists, alongside Clint Eastwood, in For a Few Dollars More. … Read More
1974 49 Years Old He and Drane divorced in 1974.


1989 64 Years Old 1 More Event
Despite suffering from heart disease from the late 1970s and having a pacemaker installed in the early 1980s, Van Cleef continued to work in films until his death on December 16, 1989, at age 64. … Read More
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