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Chuck Low, Morrie from Goodfellas, dies at 89

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Chuck Low, a military veteran and real estate developer who memorably appeared in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas as Morrie, died last month at a nursing home in New Jersey, the New York Times reports.

Born on July 21, 1928, in New York City, Low spent four years on active duty as an army major and was part of the U.S. Army Reserve for more than 30 years, as well as the U.S. National Guard from 1957-1965. He became friends with actor Robert De Niro during the 1970s, as he began to develop real estate in New York’s Tribeca neighborhood, where he also owned properties. De Niro was one of his tenants. Their relationship led to Low’s first screen appearance, as a man in a Chinese restaurant who mocks De Niro’s character in The King of Comedy.

Roles in Once Upon a Time In America (with De Niro) and The Mission (with De Niro and Liam Nesson) would soon follow. But Low is best remembered as a performer for Goodfellas, which found him playing the flamboyant and doomed Morris “Morrie” Kessler. Low shared numerous scenes with De Niro (including one where De Niro’s character chokes Kessler with a phone cord, seen below) and costars Joe Pesci and Ray Liotta. He was also given some of the films best lines, including “What am I? A schmuck on wheels?”

In the years that followed, Low would appear in De Niro films Mistress and Night and the City. He was also a guest-star on The Sopranos and 100 Centre Street. Low’s last credited screen role is a 2003 drama called Kill the Poor.

The actor is the latest prominent Goodfellas contributor to die this year, following actor Frank Vincent and cinematographer Michael Ballhaus.