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The papers of the late, great husband-and-wife actors Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson — material that includes heavily annotated scripts, awards, clippings, candid photographs, scrapbooks, correspondence and home movies — have been purchased by the University of Texas at Austin.
The Wallach-Jackson treasure trove includes 40 boxes of material. Their collection of scripts includes theater premieres of Tennessee Williams’ Summer and Smoke (1948), The Rose Tattoo (1951) and Camino Real (1953) and film scripts of Arthur Miller’s The Misfits (1961) and the classic Sergio Leone Western The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966).
“Few actors documented their process like Anne Jackson and Eli Wallach did,” Eric Colleary, Cline Curator of Theatre and Performing Arts at the school’s Harry Ransom Center, said in a statement. “They were absolute masters of their craft. Throughout their scripts you can find complex character sketches and marginal notes detailing why their characters behave the way they do. They bring an entirely new dimension to some of the most important plays and films of the 20th century.”
The papers cost $60,000 and were paid with endowments, Jen Tisdale, director of public affairs for the Harry Ransom Center, told The Hollywood Reporter.
Wallach graduated from the University of Texas in 1936, was a member of the school’s Curtain Club and performed alongside Walter Cronkite and Zachary Scott. He met Jackson when they were cast in a 1946 production of Williams’ This Property Is Condemned.
They were married for 66 years until Wallach’s death in June 2014 at age 98. Jackson died in April 2016 at age 90.
“Neither of us could sing; both of us loved to act; we were both ambitious and idealistic; and we endowed each other with the most extraordinary virtues,” Jackson wrote in her 1979 memoir, Early Stages.
Early members of the Actors Studio in New York, Jackson and Wallach appeared together 13 times on Broadway and seven times off-Broadway, and they shared the screen in such movies as The Tiger Makes Out (1967), How to Save a Marriage and Ruin Your Life (1968), Zig Zag (1970) and Nasty Habits (1977).
Among their prominent stage collaborations was three-time Tony winner Luv, directed by Mike Nichols. The caustic comedy, which had the couple playing husband and wife opposite Alan Arkin, opened in 1964 and ran for more than two years and 900-plus performances.
Wallach’s esteemed body of work also included Baby Doll (1956) and The Magnificent Seven (1960), and he received an honorary Oscar at the 2010 Governors Awards. Jackson was nominated for a Tony in 1956 for Middle of the Night and also appeared in such films as Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980).
The papers have connections to several collections in the Ransom Center’s film and performing arts holdings, including those of Miller, Williams, Stella Adler and Robert De Niro, the university noted. The papers will be accessible once processed and cataloged.
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