New Jersey-born Allen Garfield was trained at the Actors Studio in New York City. He had a prolific career on the stage before making his film debut in 1968. His stocky build and nervous, jumpy mannerisms fit well with the weaselly criminals, lecherous villains and corrupt businessmen and politicians he excels in playing - a perfect example of which is the Beverly Hills police chief in 1987's Beverly Hills Cop II (1987). Midway through his career he reverted to his real name of Allan Goorwitz, but not long afterwards decided to stay with his stage name, and went back to Allen Garfield. In the early 2000s, Garfield suffered from a series of strokes that prevented him from acting again.