Allen Garfield, ‘The Conversation’ and ‘Nashville’ Star, Dies at 80 of Coronavirus

Actor also had a memorable role as the police chief in “Beverly Hills Cop II”

Last Updated: April 8, 2020 @ 6:40 AM

Allen Garfield, who appeared in such films as “The Conversation,” “Nashville” and “Irreconcilable Differences,” has passed away due to complications of COVID-19, according to one of his co-stars. He was 80.

The actor, who suffered strokes in 1998 and 2004, had been a long-term resident of the Motion Picture Retirement Home. It is not known if he was one of the two victims of coronavirus who died at the facility this week.

Garfield’s “Nashville” co-star Ronee Blakley shared the news on Facebook, writing, “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.”

Born Allen Goorwitz in Newark, New Jersey in 1939, Garfield appeared in more than 100 television shows and films during his more than three decades in Hollywood. Graduating high school in 1957, Garfield was an amateur boxer and a sports reporter before attending The Actors Studio, where he studied under Lee Strasbourg and Elia Kazan.

Garfield began his film career in 1968 with bit parts in low budget films but soon graduated to roles in more prestigious works. His early credits include “The Owl and the Pussycat” (1970), “Bananas” (1971),  “The Candidate” (1972), and “The Conversation” (1974).

A major breakthrough for him came in 1975 when he starred opposite Blakley in Robert Altman’s “Nashville.” Subsequent roles include appearances in films like “One Trick Pony” (1980), “One From The Heart” and “Continental Divide” (both 1981), “Irreconcilable Differences” and “The Cotton Club” (both 1984), “Beverly Hills Cop II” (1987), “Dick Tracy” (1990), “Until the End of the World” (1991), “The Ninth Gate” (1998) and his final film, “Chief Zabu.”

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