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Also Known As: Max Goldsmith Died: November 28, 2005
Born: February 17, 1910 Cause of Death: Heart failure
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: actor, director

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A swarthy American character player of more than 120 films since 1932, Marc Lawrence survived the blacklist in Hollywood by appearing in films overseas. When he returned to the USA, his familiar pock-marked face could be seen portraying gangsters and toughs well into the 1990s. Lawrence was usually cast in support or opposition to major stars, particularly in gangster films. He worked alongside the creme of the screen toughs (i.e., Edward G. Robinson, Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, Paul Muni) sometimes taking a bullet for them, but projecting menace and sleaze throughout.With a background that included much stage work and even some opera singing, Lawrence was nurtured in Hollywood by director William Wyler. He moved from New York to California and in 1932 made his film debut with a bit part as an unnamed hoodlum in "If I Had a Million". This began a career in which he worked for every studio (although more for Columbia than any other) appearing in 11 films in 1937 alone. Lawrence was never the protagonist and usually the sidekick, rather than the chief villain lurking. Lawrence had one of his best chances with "The Asphalt Jungle" (1950), playing a nervous bookie. He was in support of Paul Muni,...

A swarthy American character player of more than 120 films since 1932, Marc Lawrence survived the blacklist in Hollywood by appearing in films overseas. When he returned to the USA, his familiar pock-marked face could be seen portraying gangsters and toughs well into the 1990s. Lawrence was usually cast in support or opposition to major stars, particularly in gangster films. He worked alongside the creme of the screen toughs (i.e., Edward G. Robinson, Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, Paul Muni) sometimes taking a bullet for them, but projecting menace and sleaze throughout.

With a background that included much stage work and even some opera singing, Lawrence was nurtured in Hollywood by director William Wyler. He moved from New York to California and in 1932 made his film debut with a bit part as an unnamed hoodlum in "If I Had a Million". This began a career in which he worked for every studio (although more for Columbia than any other) appearing in 11 films in 1937 alone. Lawrence was never the protagonist and usually the sidekick, rather than the chief villain lurking. Lawrence had one of his best chances with "The Asphalt Jungle" (1950), playing a nervous bookie. He was in support of Paul Muni, along with Humphrey Bogart, in "Dr. Socrates" (1935) and was a mobster in "I Am the Law" (1939), in which Edward G Robinson was a prosecutor. He was Ziggy, one of unrepentant crime boss Robinson's chief henchmen in "Key Largo" (1948).

To escape the blacklist, Lawrence and his writer wife, Fanya Foss, moved to Italy in 1951. During his six years there, he performed in numerous films (including an odd turn as Diomedes in 1956's "Helen of Troy") and even took a few turns behind the camera in the director's chair. When Lawrence returned to Hollywood to live in 1957, he first found work as a director rather than actor as the McCarthy era was not yet over. He helmed episodes of such series as "Maverick" and "77 Sunset Strip". He began acting again around 1960, appearing in numerous episodes of such series as "The Detectives", "The Untouchables" and the Western, "The Rifleman". Lawrence returned to the big screen playing a deported Mafia don, reminiscent of Lucky Luciano, in "Johnny Cool" (1963). The next year, he directed "Nightmare in the Sun" with John Derek as a drifter who meets up with Ursula Andress. Lawrence and Derek also produced the film, which did not please the critics and faltered with the public. His other directing effort, the thriller "Daddy's Deadly Darling" (filmed in 1972 and released in 1984), also did not set any box-office records. In the 70s, he had memorable roles in "The Man With the Golden Gun" (1974), the ninth James Bond movie, and as the nefarious Erhard alongside Laurence Olivier in "Marathon Man" (1976). He fit in well as a crusty man in the disastrous "Newsies" and was a mob heavy in "Ruby" (both 1992).

Through the years, Lawrence did not seem to slow down and was actually "rediscovered" by younger directors who had watched his face on the late show. In 1995, he played an irascible bellhop who gives Tim Roth "the lowdown" in "Four Rooms" and played a motel owner who gives George Clooney a dressing down in Robert Rodriguez's "From Dusk Till Dawn". Unlike many other Golden Age Hollywood players, Lawrence did not move into TV when film roles became more scarce--partly because his film roles never seemed to dry up. He did play a gangster, however, in the CBS TV-movie "Honor They Father" (1973), and made two unsold pilot, "Border Pals" (ABC, 1981) and "Terror At Alcatraz" (NBC, 1982). He continued to make the occasional guest shot on series like "Shannon's Deal" and "Gabriel's Fire" into the 90s.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Daddy's Deadly Darling (1972) Director
2.
  Nightmare in the Sun (1964) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003) Acme Vp, Stating The Obvious
2.
 Shipping News, The (2001) Cousin Nolan
3.
 End of Days (1999) Old Man
4.
 From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) Old Timer
5.
 Gotti (1996) Carlo Gambino
6.
 Ruby (1992) Santos Alicante
7.
 Newsies (1992) Kloppman
8.
 Donor (1990) Ben Beloit
9.
 Blood Red (1989) Michael Fazio
10.
 Big Easy, The (1986) Vinnie "The Cannon" Dimoti
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1932:
Made feature film debut in bit part, "If I Had A Million"
1951:
Moved to Europe, acted in Italian films and occasionally directed
1957:
Returned to Hollywood; began directing TV episodes
1964:
Directed and co-produced "Nightmare in the Sun"
1973:
Co-starred in TV-movie "Honor Thy Father"
1984:
Produced and directed "Daddy's Deadly Darling"
1996:
Appeared in feature "From Dusk Till Dawn"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

City College of New York: New York , New York - 1928 - 1930

Notes

Lawrence was a favorite peformer of gangsters. In 1951, while sitting with his wife in a restaurant in Naples, Italy, he was approached by a man whose demeanor was not unlike that played by Lawrence in scores of films--a mob soldier: "This little guy comes over to me and says, 'Charlie Lucky wants to talk to you. Then this other guy comes walking over, about Bogart's size. He had a little dog with him, named Bambi. He introduces himself and his dog and tells me, 'I want to hear New York talk.' So I talked New York to him for about a half-hour. Whaddya going to do?" --Marc Lawrence, who played a character perhaps based on Charles 'Lucky' Luciano in "Johnny Cool" (1963).

"Being a tough guy is easy. You just give them this hard look and yell, 'Hey, you, get over here!' and nobody bothers you." --Marc Lawrence

"I loved Eddie Robinson, but nobody was better than Jimmy Cagney. The bounce that Cagney had was special. It was a pleasure to watch him dancing through a scene as a tough guy." --Marc Lawrence

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Fanya Foss-Lawrence. Screenwriter, poet, novelist. Married from 1942 until her death on December 12, 1995 of natural causes.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Israel Simon Goldsmith.
mother:
Minerva Norma Goldsmith.
daughter:
Toni Lawrence. Actor. Appeared in "Daddy's Deadly Darling".

Bibliography close complete biography

"Long Time, No See: Confessions of a Hollywood Gangster" Ursus Press

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