Allan Rich, Character Actor Who Appeared in Serpico and Curb Your Enthusiasm, Dies at 94

Allan Rich, veteran actor and acting coach, has died. According to a new report from THR, the long-time character actor of Amistad and Curb Your Enthusiasm fame died of progressive dementia at the Lilian Booth Actors Home in Englewood, New Jersey. He was 94.

Born in 1926, Rich — real name Benjamin Norman Schultz — cut his teeth on Broadway, appearing in a handful of productions in the 1940s and 1950s. Then, at the height of McCarthy in the 1950s, Hollywood brass branded Rich as a communist, refusing to hire him as he served as an outspoken activist. At the time, he was supposed to be appearing in NBC's Philco Playhouse, though he was promptly fired from the show.

"My agent never sent me out [on another audition]," Rich told the trade in an interview over a decade ago. "I would walk into an office, making the rounds. And I'd walk out going phhffffft. It took a year till an actor said to me, 'Hey, we're on Red Channels.' If your name was on that list, goooooood-byyyyye! You never worked."

In 2007, Rich release a novel titled A Leap From the Method, looking not only at his career but diving into the craft of acting. During as time as an acting coach, he mentored Sharon Stone, Jamie Lee Curtis, Rene Russo, Larry Miller, and Alan Thicke at various points in their career. His wife — the late Elaine Rich — served as a manager in Hollywood, representing clients like Fran Drescher and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Elaine passed away in 2015.

"He lived large and was quite heroic to many including me when faced with the depths of despair," Drescher told THR about Rich. "He had a great intellect and excelled in everything he set his mind to. He was always on the side of good & right."


Preceded in death by his wife Elaine, Rich is survied by his children Marian and David, duahgter-inlaw Wendy, son-in-law Ed, and grandchildren Julia and Ruby.

Cover photo by Chad Buchanan/Getty Images