Eli Wallach has died at the age of 98.

The actor, who was best known for starring as Tuco opposite Clint Eastwood in Sergio Leone's spaghetti western 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly', has passed away, his daughter Katherine has confirmed to the New York Times newspaper.

Wallach began his film career in 1956 after 10 years of acting on stage and his portrayal of bandit chief Calvera in 1960's 'The Magnificent Seven' was regarded by many as his definitive role.

The character actor was never nominated for an Oscar during his 60-year career, but the Academy awarded the ''quintessential chameleon'' an honorary prize in 2011 for ''effortlessly inhabiting a wide range of characters, while putting his inimitable stamp on every role.''

Other films in which he starred include 'How the West Was Won' and 'The Misfits' but the actor previously claimed that strangers often recognised him for his role as Tuco and would whistle the distinctive theme tune of 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly' to him.

The Hollywood Reporter quoted him as saying: ''As an actor I've played more bandits, thieves, warlords, molesters and Mafioso than you could shake a stick at.''

Wallach - who was married to 'The Shining' actress Anne Jackson - also had a successful career in light comedy and appeared in a number of TV shows including 'Mr. Freeze', in which he played the mad scientist and enemy of Batman.

The veteran actor's last role was in 2010's 'Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps' at the age of 94.