Character actor Allen Garfield died from complications with the coronavirus Tuesday at 80. Garfield’s death was confirmed by his sister.

Many of his fans and former co-stars posted on social media to pay their respects. This includes Ronee Blakley who said on Facebook, “RIP Allen Garfield, the great actor who played my husband in “Nashville”, has died today of Covid; I hang my head in tears; condolences to family and friends; I will post more later; cast and crew, sending love”.

Garfield previously suffered two strokes, after which he went to live at the Motion Picture Country Home and Hospital in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles.

Born, Allen Goorwitz, the New Jersey native became a boxer before acting. However, Garfield first caught the acting bug when he was a teen. He idolized comedian Lenny Bruce. Garfield later attended The Actors Studio in New York, where he was at first admitted as a writer and director, and studied under Lee Strasberg. He often played corrupt characters in films, appearing in movies including Francis Ford Coppola’s 1974 drama The Conversation, which was nominated for three Oscars, including best picture; Cry Uncle, Dick Tracy, The Stunt Man, The Candidate, with Robert Redford and Roman Polanski’s The Ninth Gate.


Garfield played studio boss Louis B. Mayer in the 1976 film Gale and Lombard and the fiery police chief Harold Lutz in the 1987 movie Beverly Hills Cop II alongside Eddie Murphy. He portrayed the husband and manager of country singer Barbara Jean (Blakley) in Nashville, which was nominated for best picture.

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