According to The Hollywood Reporter, actor Allen Garfield—who appeared in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation, Robert Altman’s Nashville, and played the police chief in Beverly Hills Cop II—has died. Ronee Blakley, who played Garfield’s wife in Nashville, said on Facebook today that he died from the COVID-19 coronavirus, with THR saying his sister, Lois Goorwitz, confirmed the news. Garfield was 80.
Garfield, born Allen Goorwitz (a name he occasionally used during his acting career as a tribute to his father) in New Jersey in 1939, worked as a sports reporter and an amateur boxer before attending The Actors Studio in New York. He worked with storied filmmakers Lee Strasberg and Elia Kazan, building a name for himself as a stage actor before making the jump to film and television. He had a knack for playing nervous, jumpy characters, often villains, and he left a memorable impression in movies like the aforementioned The Conversation and Nashville, along with Coppola’s The Cotton Club and Richard Rush’s The Stunt Man.
Though he had over 100 roles over the course of his nearly 40-year acting career, Garfield’s time in Hollywood was cut short when he suffered a stroke before appearing in Roman Polanski’s The Ninth Gate in 1999. He continued to appear in movies and TV after that, including Frank Darabont’s The Majestic and episodes of Sports Night and The West Wing, but he had another stroke in 2004 and stopped acting after that.