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‘Goodfellas’ Actor Chuck Low is Dead at 89

IndieWire logo IndieWire 03/10/2017 Chris O'Falt
Goodfellas - 1990 © Bros/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock Goodfellas - 1990

According the his New York Times obituary, Chuck Low died last month at a New Jersey nursery at the age of 89. Chuck Low will likely be best remembered by movie fans as Morrie – the toupee salesman who gets in too deep with the mob in Martin Scorsese’s “Goodfellas” – but his career and life span well past movies.

Born in New York City in 1928, Low was a military veteran who served active duty in the U.S. Army, was engineer who created marine instruments, and in the 1960s started real estate partnership with Lehman Brothers. Low became a pioneer developer in Tribeca, playing a key role in the New York City neighborhood’s transformation in luxury lofts and high-end restaurant. It was in this capacity that he met Tribeca’s most famous resident Robert De Niro, who became both Low’s tenant and friend.

It was through De Niro that Low got introduced to acting in movies, playing alongside the Academy Award winner in “The Mission,” “King of Comedy,” “Once Upon a Time in America,” “Goodfellas,” “Mistress,” “Night and the City,” and even got guest-starring roles in non-De Niro TV show like “The Sopranos” and “100 Centre Street.”

Low’s first on-screen appearance in Scorsese’s “King of Comedy” (1982) was akin to in-joke, sitting in the background mimicking and mocking the excited hand gestures of Rupert Pupkin (De Niro) on a date played by Diahnne Abbott, who was De Niro’s wife at the time.

Over time Low’s acting chops grew and in 1990 turned in an comically astute performance as Morrie in “Goodfellas.” Morrie, who hung out with the mobsters, embodied what they considered a loudmouth and easy mark (“Am I schmuck?”), with his local TV commercials for bad toupees and his desire to get into business with the crew. Needless to say it ends badly for Morrie in one of the classic film’s most memorable scenes.

Low is the most recent death in the group that made “Goodfellas.” Earlier this year actor Frank Vincent and cinematographer Michael Ballhaus past away as well.

Gallery: Remembering the stars we've lost in 2017 (Provider: Digital Spy)


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