Allen Garfield

Allen Garfield, born and sometimes credited as Allen Goorwitz (born November 22, 1939), is an American film and television actor.

Allen Garfield
Garfield in 1986 on the set of Chief Zabu (2016)
Allen Goorwitz

(1939-11-22) November 22, 1939
Other namesAllen Goorwitz
Years active1968–2002

Life and career

Garfield was born in Newark, New Jersey, to a Jewish family, the son of Alice (née Lavroff) and Philip Goorwitz.[1][2] A 1957 graduate of Weequahic High School,[3] 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.[4][5]

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
1968Orgy Girls '69
1968GreetingsSmut Peddler
1969Putney SwopeElias, Jr.
1970The Good, the Bad and the BeautifulMoreno
1970Hi, Mom!Joe Banner
1970The Owl and the PussycatDress Shop Proprietor
1971RoommatesMartin Axborough
1971Taking OffNorman
1971BananasMan on Cross
1971Cry Uncle!Jake Masters
1971You've Got to Walk It Like You Talk It or You'll Lose That BeatHerby Moss
1971The OrganizationBenjy
1971Believe in MeStutter
1972Top of the HeapTaxi Driver
1972The CandidateKlein
1972Get to Know Your RabbitVic
1973SlitherVincent J. Palmer
1973The Marcus-Nelson MurdersMario PortelloTV movie
1973Deadhead MilesJuicy BruceyUncredited
1974BustingCarl Rizzo
1974The ConversationBernie Moran
1974The Front PageKruger
1976The Commitment
1976Gable and LombardLouis B. Mayer
1976Mother, Jugs, and SpeedHarry Fishbine
1978SkateboardManny Bloom
1978The Brink's JobVinnie Costa
1979Sketches of a StranglerJack Garvey
1980The Stunt ManSam
1980One Trick PonyCal van Damp
1981One from the HeartRestaurant Owner
1981Continental DivideHoward McDermott
1982Der Stand der DingeGordon
1983The Black Stallion ReturnsKurr
1983Get CrazyMax Wolfe
1984Irreconcilable DifferencesPhil Hanner
1984TeachersCarl Rosenberg
1984The Cotton ClubAbbadabba Berman
1986Desert BloomMr. Mosol
1987Beverly Hills Cop IIHarold Lutz
1987My Best Friend's BirthdayEntertainment Magnate
1989Night VisitorZachary Willard
1989Let It RideGreenberg
1990Dick TracyReporter #1
1990Club FedHarrison Farnsworth IV
1991Until the End of the WorldGebrauchtwagenhändler
1992Citizen CohnAbe FellerTV movie
1992Miracle BeachMagnus O'Leary
1992Jack and His FriendsJack
1993Family PrayersCantor
1994The PatriotsEagleman
1995Stuart Saves His FamilyMaitre D'
1995Wild SideDan Rackman
1995Destiny Turns on the RadioVinnie Vidivici
1996DiaboliqueLeo Katzman
1997ObsessionSimon Frischmuth
1997The Elf Who Didn't BelieveTwisp
1998Get a JobMr. Berger / Psychiatrist
1999The Ninth GateWitkin
2001The MajesticLeo Kubelsky
2002White BoyMr. Rosen
2016Chief ZabuBen Sydney(final film role)
(filmed in 1986)


  1. Allen Garfield Biography,; accessed July 9, 2017.
  2. Allen Garfield Biography,; accessed July 9, 2017.
  3. Distinguished Weequahic Alumni, Weequahic High School Alumni Association. Accessed December 19, 2019. "Allen (Goorvitz) Garfield (1957) an actor who has appeared in over 100 films and television shows."
  4. Peary, Gerald (1998). Quentin Tarantino. University Press of Mississippi. p. 12. ISBN 1578060516. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
  5. Holm, D.K. (2004). Quentin Tarantino: The Essential Pocket Guide. Summersdale Publishers. p. 28. ISBN 1848398662. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
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