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Merwin Goldsmith, Character Actor and Broadway Veteran, Dies at 81

The Hollywood Reporter logo The Hollywood Reporter 1/23/2019 Mike Barnes

Merwin Goldsmith attends The New Group 2010 Gala Benefit honors ROBYN GOODMAN at BB King Blues Club & Grill on January 25, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by CHANCE YEH/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images) © Patrick McMullan Merwin Goldsmith attends The New Group 2010 Gala Benefit honors ROBYN GOODMAN at BB King Blues Club & Grill on January 25, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by CHANCE YEH/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images) Merwin Goldsmith, a familiar character actor who appeared on Broadway, in films like Cadillac Man and Quiz Show and on the TV series Law & Order and The Good Wife, died Monday at his home in New York City, his family announced. He was 81.

Goldsmith appeared as Judge Ian Feist on 11 episodes of NBC's Law & Order that spanned the years 1993 through 2005; played a bankruptcy judge in It Could Happen to You (1994), starring Nicolas Cage and Bridget Fonda; and portrayed the real-life judge who denied boxer and accused murderer Rubin Carter (Denzel Washington) a new trial in Norman Jewison's The Hurricane (1999).

In addition to Cadillac Man (1990) and Quiz Show (1994), the Detroit native also appeared in other films including Hercules in New York (1970), Shamus (1973), Boardwalk (1979), Lovesick (1983), Making Mr. Right (1987), Rounders (1998) and Joe Gould's Secret (2000).

Goldsmith made his Broadway debut in 1970 in the Marx Brothers musical comedy Minnie's Boys starring Shelley Winters and worked opposite Glenn Close in 1976's Rex. He performed in about a dozen Broadway plays during his career.

Off-Broadway, he starred with Anne Meara and Barbara Barrie in After-Play in 1995.

Goldsmith also played the mustachioed Mr. Monopoly in the 2010 documentary Under the Boardwalk: The Monopoly Story and was Holocaust survivor and government witness Simon Fischbein on CBS' The Good Wife.

Born on Aug. 7, 1937, Goldsmith attended Mumford High School and Wayne State University in Detroit and UCLA. He studied acting in London at the Bristol Old Vic and at the Liverpool Playhouse.

Survivors include his wife of 22 years, Barbara; stepson Jamie; granddaughter Sally; sister Barbara; and brothers Mark, Jonathan and Steven. 

Related slideshow: Stars we've lost in 2019 (via Photo Services)

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