SWDB Hall of Fame/Supporting Actors
From The Spaghetti Western Database
June 20, 1928 (Innsbruck, Austria)- October 2, 1993 (Los Angeles CA, USA)
Born Wilhelm Thomas Berger, the handsome and versatile actor, with his trademark smirk, rarely held top billing in the 22 Italian westerns that he appeared in, yet he was always listed second or third in the credits playing a variety of memorable characters. Equally adept at playing good guys, anti-heroes or villains, the former Broadway actor’s most memorable western roles were in Keoma (1976) playing Franco Nero’s father, and Sabata (1969), where he portrayed the iconic character “Banjo”, opposite Lee Van Cleef. He also had key roles in Face to Face (1967), Today We Kill, Tommorow We Die! (1968), and If You Meet Sartana, Pray for Your Death (1968). Unlike many of his European brethren, Berger spoke perfectly unaccented English and regularly used his own voice in the English dub of the westerns that he starred in. Outside of the Italian western genre, his best known roles were in the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 classic, Devil fish (1984), Mario Bava’s classic giallo 5 Dolls for an August Moon (1970), and the Lou Ferrigno vehicle Hercules (1983), where he played the lead villain. He also fathered three daughters and a son, all of whom became actors.
March 5, 1923 (Rome, Italy)- July 23, 1994 (Rome)
With his immense physical stature, Brega was arguably the most recognizable heavy in the Spaghetti western genre. The former butcher typically played small roles as a menacing henchmen or bully, only to be later killed by the film’s lead protagonist. He filled up the screen in 16 Italian westerns, including all three films in Sergio Leone’s “Man With No Name" trilogy, as well as Death Rides a Horse (1967), The Great Silence (1968), and My Name is Nobody (1973). Occasionally he would appear as a comic relief character as well. In fact, the portly Brega would later appear in numerous Italian comedies after the western genre had run its course. He would also appear in Sergio Leone’s mob-drama masterpiece Once Upon a Time in America (1984).
August 14, 1924 (Pontevedra, Spain)-
A veteran actor with close to 200 acting credits in a career spanning 6 decades, Fajardo was adept at playing a variety of villains in Spaghetti Westerns, all equally despicable, from corrupt town bosses to Mexican bandits. Fajardo appeared in a total of 27 Italian Westerns, often as the lead villain of the film. He was a frequent co-star of his real life friend Anthony Steffen, typically playing the villainous foil to Steffen’s heroic lead. They shared the screen together in 8 westerns. His best known role was in Sergio Corbucci’s landmark classic Django (1966), playing the lead villain, a racist confederate major opposite Franco Nero. He also played supporting roles in The Mercenary (1968), Companeros (1970), and Bad Man's River (1971). Outside of the Italian western genre, he had supporting roles in The Four Musketeers (1974), and Delusions of Grandeur (1971), as well as cult horror flicks like Umberto Lenzi’s Nightmare City (1980), Mario Bava’s Lisa and the Devil (1974), and Jesus Franco’s Oasis of the Zombies (1983).
May 28, 1929 (Lubeck, Germany) - May 25, 1999 (Heidelberg)
The most famous of all German Spaghetti Western actors, Frank relished in playing cunning and deplorable, yet stately villains. Frank first became acquainted with the western genre when he appeared in several “pre-Leone” German-made westerns. He also played the lead villain in the pre-Leone Italian western, Bullets Don’t Argue (1964). His most famous roles were still to come however, as he would play the lead villain in such notable Spaghetti Westerns as Django, Prepare a Coffin aka Viva Django (1968), Johnny Hamlet (1968), Hate thy Neighbor (1968), The Moment to Kill (1968) and the Grand Duel (1972). He appeared in twelve Euro-westerns in all. Outside of the western genre, he achieved a gained of fame in Germany, appearing in over 160 film and television productions in a career spanning nearly 50 years. He had supporting roles and occasional lead roles in a variety of films ranging from gialli to World War II films, including The Cat o’ Nine Tails (1971), Les Tontons Flingueurs aka Monsieur Gangster (1963), Marquis de Sade: Justine (1969), The Vengeance of Fu Manchu (1967), Stalingrad: Dogs, Do You Want to Live Forever? (1959), The Dead Are Alive aka The Etruscan Kills Again (1972), Catherine the Great (1996 TV) and the Head (1959). He also played the villainous Baron de Lefouet in the popular German television series, Timm Thaler (1979).
October 18, 1926 (Sopot, Free City of Danzig now Poland)– November 13, 1991 (Lagunitas CA, USA)
Born Nikolaus Karl Günther Nakszyński of German descent, Kinski’s worldwide fame was seeded in his immense acting talent, infamous volatile temper, and his legendary collaborations with director Werner Herzog, including the heralded Aguirre: The Wrath of God (1972), Fitzccaraldo(1982) and Nosferatu the Vampyre(1979). But he also managed to contribute his talents to a number of Spaghetti westerns, 21 in all. He had a small but memorable role in Sergio Leone’s For a Few Dollars More (1965). Despite usually not having much screen time, Kinski seemed to steal the show in virtually every scene in which he appeared and played similarly small but important parts in westerns, usually as a villain. However he did occasionally appear in lead and shared-lead roles in films such as Sergio Corbucci’s classic The Great Silence (1968) and A Bullet for the General (1966). In a rare instance, he played the lead protagonist in the gothic horror tinged western And God Said to Cain (1970). Overall, Kinski had over 130 film and television credits to his name, of varying quality, yet his presence almost always enhanced whatever production he was in. He fathered internationally known actress Nastassja Kinski and penned a controversial autobiography, “Kinski: All I Need is Love”.
February 1, 1923 (Florence, Italy)- June 23, 1991 (Rome, Italy)
Sometimes credited as Peter Carter or Peter Lull, the handsome, green-eyed Italian actor played a wide variety of villains in some 30 Italian Westerns. Often serving as the film’s main villain, Lulli reveled in playing greedy land barons, corrupt town bosses and other “evil and wealthy” characters. He had appearances in notable films such as My Name is Nobody (1973), Django Kill, If You Live, Shoot! (1967), The Fighting Fists of Shanghai Joe (1972), Forgtten Pistolero (1969), Fistful of Lead AKA Sartana's Here, Trade Your Pistol For a Coffin (1970), and Light the Fuse, Sartana is Coming! (1971). Outside of the western genre, he played supporting roles in Ulysses (1954), and Mario Bava’s classic Kill Baby Kill (1966). He had over a 100 acting credits from 1942 to 1977. He was the brother of notable Italian actor Folco Lulli.
September 30, 1938 (Bolzano, Italy)- February 4, 2010 (Bolzano)
Born Pietro Martellanza, the former Mr. Italy came within an inch of superstardom. During the 60’s and 70’s, the handsome former model and sailor landed roles in dozens of productions, including 16 Italian Westerns. His most memorable Western role was playing opposite Leonard Mann in Ferdinando Baldi’s The Forgotten Pistolero (1969). He also had supporting roles in Long Days of Hate (1968), and Enzo Barboni’s The Unholy Four (1970). Martell was then cast to play ‘Trinity’ in the first of Barboni’s “Trinity” films, but a broken foot suffered during a dispute with his girlfriend led to him being replaced by Terence Hill. The ‘Trinity” films turned out to be hugely successful, possibly denying Martell of a more lucrative film career. Outside of the Spaghetti Western genre, he made his mark in the Italian Horror genre, appearing in The Bloody Judge (1970), Death Walks at Midnight (1972), as well as the Euro-Crime film, Street People (1976). In more recent times, Martell had fallen on hard times, and a documentary about his life was produced in 1997. This led to a minor career revival, as he made appearances in a couple of horror films including Tears of Kali (2004).
February 18, 1919 (Lattimer Mines PA, USA) - November 10, 2006 (Montecito CA, USA)
In an acting career that spanned half a century and well over 100 film and television appearances, one of Hollywood’s most accomplished character actors also lent his formidable height, menacing glare, prominent cheekbones and acting talent to 7 Euro- Westerns, usually playing the lead villain. Born Volodymyr Palanyuk, this former professional boxer and decorated World War II veteran was well suited for westerns and gave two highly memorable performances in two of Sergio Corbucci’s hugely successful Zapata masterpieces, The Mercenary (1968), opposite Franco Nero and Companeros (1970), alongside Nero and Tomas Milian. He also appeared in God’s Gun (1975) and It Can Be Done, Amigo (1972) among others. His work outside the Euro-Western genre is both prolific and renowned. He gave Oscar nominated performances in Sudden Fear (1952) and Shane (1953) and also appeared in Panic in the Streets (1950), Attack (1956) and the Professionals (1966). In later decades his work included supporting appearances in films such as Batman (1989), Tango and Cash (1989) and Young Guns (1988). Perhaps his best known role was his Academy Award winning performance as Curly Washburn in City Slickers (1991). Palance continued to act in a wide variety of films and television productions, including City Slickers 2: The Legend of Curly’s Gold (1994) up until his death.
May 15, 1933 (Rome, Italy)- January 7, 1996 (Rome, Italy)
The large and burly ex-bodyguard and former football player could always be depended on to fill up the screen as a tough guy or henchmen. A veteran of Peplum films, Pazzafini, with his easily recognizable features, was seen in a total of 37 Italian westerns, from the early years all the way to the twilight days. Occasionally he was billed as Red Carter. A talented thespian and well adept at performing fist fight, action, and horse riding scenes, he was a favorite of leading man Giuliano Gemma, as the two shared the screen together 14 times, and was affectionately known as "Nellone" by his colleagues. Pazzafini also appeared in a number of Euro-Crime films as well. Often billed as Giovanni Pazzafini, he had nearly 200 film and television credits to his name in a decades long acting career.
July 19, 1929 (Grosseto, Italy)- April 21, 1996 (Milan)
One of the Spaghetti Western genre’s best known and talented supporting players, Pistilli had memorable roles in seven such films. Often called upon to portray a villain, his most famous role was nevertheless that of the wholesome priest brother of Eli Wallach’s character in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1996). His other famous roles included Groggy in For a Few Dollars More (1966), Walcott in Death Rides a Horse (1967), and roles in The Great Silence (1968) as well as Texas Addios (1967). Outside of the western genre, Pistilli enjoyed a successful and career acting in many hit Giallo and Euro-crime films such as Mario Bava’s Bay of Blood (1971), The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail (1971), Caliber 9 (1972), Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (1972), Illustrious Corpses (1976) and Terence Young’s Cold Sweat (1970). Having graduated as an actor at Milan’s Piccolo Teatro, Pistilli was a successful and prolific stage actor in addition to his more than 70 film and television appearances. His triumphs on stage include roles in several Bertolt Brecht plays and Giorgio Strehler productions. He continued acting up until a series of misfortunes compelled him to end his life prematurely in 1996.
February 23, 1937 (Madrid, Spain)- July 10, 2010 (Alicante, Spain)
Born Alfredo Sánchez Brell, the Spanish actor typically played smaller supporting roles, usually as a henchman and tough guy villain in some of the finest Spaghetti Westerns ever made. Sambrell appeared in all five westerns directed by Sergio Leone. He also appeared in other classics such as A Bullet for the General (1966), Face to Face (1967), and The Hellbenders (1967). Perhaps his best role was playing the lead villain opposite Burt Reynolds in Sergio Corbucci’s Navajo Joe (1966). In all, Sambrell appeared in over 30 Italian and Spanish westerns. Outside of the western genre, he had numerous supporting roles in films such as the Hong Kong actioner Armour of God II (1991), and The Wind and the Lion (1975). Still active as an actor until his death, he had over 150 credits to his name, and even tried his hand at directing, producing, and writing.
January 7, 1916 (Zaragoza, Spain)- July 13, 1990 (Madrid, Spain)
One of the most recognizable character actors in the Spaghetti Western genre, the portly, mustached Spaniard specialized in playing crude and boisterous Mexican bandits or military leaders, often as the lead villain of the film. Sancho essentially played the same type of character over and over again, embracing his apparently excessive typecasting with aplomb. He deviated from this pattern on rare occasion, playing the comic sidekick of the main hero in Django Shoots First (1966). He appeared in nearly 50 Italian westerns, including The Big Gundown (1966), both of Duccio Tessari’s Ringo films, as well as If You Meet Sartana, Pray for Your Death (1969), Rita of the West (1967), Minnesota Clay (1965), $10,000 Blood Money (1967), and Arizona Colt (1966). Of his non-Spaghetti Western outings, his most famous role was in the Spanish horror classic Return of the Evil Dead (1973). A larger than life character in real life, and an avid bullfighting aficionado, he continued acting until his death, with well over 200 acting credits to his name.
September 2, 1928, (Vergine, Rome, Lazio, Italy)- December 1999, (Rome, Lazio, Italy)
The multitalented and tough looking Stefanelli, sometimes credited as Benny Reeves, had roles, usually small, sometimes uncredited, in 27 Spaghetti Westerns, playing mostly gringo henchmen, but occasionally sheriff’s as well. Stefanelli not only acted in these films, but he also performed stunts and served as a ”master of arms”, or weapons expert , on many of these films. Furthermore, because of his fluency in both Italian and English, he sometimes served as an interpreter on the set of these films. In fact, Clint Eastwood communicated with Sergio Leone on the set of A Fistful of Dollars (1964), using Steffanelli as an interpreter. Stefanelli was involved in several blockbuster westerns including every one of Leone's, Trinity is Still My Name (1971), The Big Gundown (1966), and a highly memorable role in which he “jousted” with Lee Van Cleef in Day of Anger (1967). Outside of the western genre his most famous role was perhaps in Werner Herzog’s classic, Cobra Verde (1987).
December 7, 1915 (Brooklyn NY, USA)-
Wallach has enjoyed a long and storied career as one of Hollywood’s finest character, method actors, but it is a role in a Spaghetti Western for which he is most recognized. The Jewish American’s portrayal of sneaky but lovable Mexican Bandit Tuco in Sergio Leone’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966), may very well have been the finest individual on-screen performance ever in a western. Wallach also had important roles in 3 other Italian westerns, lending support to Terence Hill and Bud Spencer in Ace High (1968), Franco Nero and Lynn Redgrave in Don't Turn the Other Cheek (1971), and Giuliano Gemma and Tomas Milian in Sergio Corbucci’s The White, the Yellow and the Black (1975). Outside of the Italian western genre, he has had important roles in several notable Hollywood westerns, The Magnificent Seven (1960), How the West Was Won (1962) and The Misfits (1961). He played a key roles in The Godfather: Part III (1990) and How to Steal a Million (1966) and has also enjoyed an illustrious Broadway and stage career. Now in his mid 90s, he is still going strong, appearing in recent years in such films as The Holiday (2006).
May 11, 1928 (San Francisco CA, USA)- December 12, 1971 (Rome, Italy)
He was an incredibly versatile and talented character actor who appeared in 10 Spaghetti Westerns. Although his best known role was a small one, that of Claudia Cardinale’s ill-fated husband in Once Upon a Time in the West (1968). He had much larger roles playing the dutiful sheriff in The Great Silence (1968), the main villain in both God Forgives, I Don't (1967) and A Stranger in Town (1967), and the comic sidekick in I Am Sartana, Your Angel of Death (1969). He even narrated the Spaghetti Western documentary Western, Italian Style (1968). Wolff’s career encompassed many genre’s, with important roles in Academy Award winning drama America, America (1963), Italian crime films Salvatore Giuliano (1962) and Milano Calibro 9 (1972), guest TV roles in “Rawhide” and “The Twilight Zone”, and American B pictures directed by Monte Hellman (The Beast from the Haunted Grave, 1959) and Roger Corman. Tragically, his career was cut short when he took his own life in a Rome hotel room.