OXNARD, Calif. (AP) - Actor Lee Van Cleef, whose steely eyes and rugged features led to a long career portraying Western arch-villains, died early Saturday after collapsing at home, authorities said. He was 64.
Van Cleef's film break came as one of the desperadoes faced down by Gary Cooper in the 1952 movie "High Noon," and he became a familiar gunslinger in so-called spaghetti Westerns made by Italian director Sergio Leone, including "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly."Van Cleef collapsed at his Oxnard home around 11:40 p.m. Friday, said Craig Stevens, a Ventura County deputy coroner. The scenic coastal community is about 60 miles north of Los Angeles.
The actor's wife, Barbara, called paramedics and he was rushed to St. John's Regional Medical Center in Oxnard, where he was pronounced dead at 12:04 a.m., Stevens said.
"He was admitted to the hospital in full arrest," Stevens said. "It's an apparent heart attack. He's got a history of heart disease. He had a permanent pacemaker."
Van Cleef's film credits included the other spaghetti Westerns "A Fistful of Dollars" and "For a Few Dollars More," and the science-fiction thriller "Escape From New York."