Allen Garfield  

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"A character actor who has played aggressively garrulous complainers, worriers and hustlers (the kind who answers his own questions), mostly in offbeat comedies." --Cult Movie Stars (1991) by Danny Peary, page 208

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Allen Garfield (born Allen Goorwitz; November 22, 1939 – April 7, 2020) was an American film and television actor.

Life and career

Garfield was born in Newark, New Jersey, to a Jewish family, the son of Alice (née Lavroff) and Philip Goorwitz. A 1957 graduate of Weequahic High School, he was a sports reporter and Golden Gloves boxer before becoming an actor. He studied acting at The Actors Studio in New York City, studying with both Lee Strasberg and Elia Kazan, and worked in stage before film.

Garfield has appeared in over 100 films and television shows. He is known for playing nervous villains, corrupt businessmen and politicians. In addition he has appeared in two art films by German director Wim Wenders, Der Stand der Dinge and Bis ans Ende der Welt. Garfield has one sister, Lois. Quentin Tarantino once studied with Garfield when Tarantino was starting as a filmmaker.

For a year after his father's death and in tribute to him, Allen used his family name, Goorwitz for his screen credits.

When Garfield suffered a stroke prior to filming his role in The Ninth Gate (1999), director Roman Polanski opted to use Garfield's paralyzed face for his character rather than conceal it or recast the role. Garfield suffered a massive stroke in 2004 and since then has been a long-term nursing care resident at The Motion Picture Home.


Year Title Role Notes
1968 Orgy Girls '69
1968 Greetings Smut peddler
1969 Putney Swope Elias, Jr.
1970 The Good, the Bad and the Beautiful Moreno
1970 Hi, Mom! Joe Banner
1970 The Owl and the Pussycat Dress Shop Proprietor
1971 Roommates Martin Axborough
1971 Taking Off Norman
1971 Bananas Man on Cross
1971 Cry Uncle! Jake Masters
1971 You've Got to Walk It Like You Talk It or You'll Lose That Beat Herby Moss
1971 The Organization Benjy
1971 Believe in Me Stutter
1972 Top of the Heap Taxi Driver
1972 The Candidate Klein
1972 Get to Know Your Rabbit Vic
1973 Slither Vincent J. Palmer
1973 The Marcus-Nelson Murders Mario Portello TV movie
1973 Deadhead Miles Juicy Brucey Uncredited
1974 Busting Carl Rizzo
1974 The Conversation Bernie Moran
1974 The Front Page Kruger
1975 Nashville Barnett
1976 The Commitment
1976 Gable and Lombard Louis B. Mayer
1976 Mother, Jugs, and Speed Harry Fishbine
1976 Paco Padre
1978 Skateboard Manny Bloom
1978 The Brink's Job Vinnie Costa
1979 Sketches of a Strangler Jack Garvey
1979 Fyre Preacher
1980 The Stunt Man Sam
1980 One Trick Pony Cal van Damp
1981 One from the Heart Restaurant Owner
1981 Continental Divide Howard McDermott
1982 Der Stand der Dinge Gordon
1983 The Black Stallion Returns Kurr
1983 Get Crazy Max Wolfe
1984 Irreconcilable Differences Phil Hanner
1984 Teachers Carl Rosenberg
1984 The Cotton Club Abbadabba Berman
1986 Desert Bloom Mr. Mosol
1987 Beverly Hills Cop II Harold Lutz
1987 My Best Friend's Birthday Entertainment Magnate
1989 Night Visitor Zachary Willard
1989 Let It Ride Greenberg
1990 Dick Tracy Reporter #1
1990 Club Fed Harrison Farnsworth IV
1991 Until the End of the World Gebrauchtwagenhändler
1992 Citizen Cohn Abe Feller TV movie
1992 Miracle Beach Magnus O'Leary
1992 Jack and His Friends Jack
1993 Family Prayers Cantor
1994 The Patriots Eagleman
1995 Stuart Saves His Family Maitre D'
1995 Wild Side Dan Rackman
1995 Destiny Turns on the Radio Vinnie Vidivici
1996 Diabolique Leo Katzman
1997 Obsession Simon Frischmuth
1997 The Elf Who Didn't Believe Twisp
1998 Get a Job Mr. Berger / Psychiatrist
1999 The Ninth Gate Witkin
2001 The Majestic Leo Kubelsky
2002 White Boy Mr. Rosen
2016 Chief Zabu Ben Sydney (final film role)
(filmed in 1986)

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Allen Garfield" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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