Marc Lawrence, 95, a character actor with piercing eyes and a pockmarked face who portrayed a memorable array of menacing hoods, thugs and cons over seven decades, died Nov. 27 at his home in Palm Springs, Calif. No cause of death was reported.
Since 1932, Mr. Lawrence had appeared in more than 175 movies. Among them are: "The Oxbow Incident," "This Gun for Hire," "Cloak and Dagger," "The Asphalt Jungle," "Marathon Man," "Foul Play," "The Man With the Golden Gun," "The Big Easy" and "Ruby."
In 1948, he played Ziggy, Edward G. Robinson's fedora-wearing fellow mobster who shows up during a lull in a storm to buy a shipment of counterfeit money in "Key Largo."
In 1971, he appeared as one of the three black-suited henchmen who tossed Plenty O' Toole (Lana Wood) through a high-rise hotel window into a pool in the James Bond classic "Diamonds Are Forever."
Looking out of the window afterward, Bond (Sean Connery) says, "Exceptionally fine shot."
A deadpan Lawrence responds, "I didn't know it was a pool down there."
In a notable change of pace, he delivered a touching performance as a mute hillbilly in the 1941 drama "The Shepherd of the Hills."
But it's as a movie heavy that he made his mark, and more than 60 years after arriving in Hollywood, he was still being cast in such parts as Mafia kingpin Carlo Gambino in HBO's 1996 biographical drama "Gotti."
Born Max Goldsmith, Mr. Lawrence began acting in the Bronx. "I was the best actor in our school," he told the Chicago Tribune in 1998. "I could memorize faster than anyone, and my old uncle in the Yiddish theater said I had stage guts, so I guess he inspired me."
In 1930, he was accepted into Eva Le Gallienne's renowned repertory theater, where he became friends with John Garfield. The two actors appeared on stage together in a number of plays, including Group Theatre productions.
After freelancing in Hollywood through half of the 1930s, Mr. Lawrence signed with Columbia Pictures. But the film roles dried up in 1951 after two government agents knocked on the door of his Los Angeles home and accused him of being a member of the Communist Party.
"I got a subpoena," Mr. Lawrence told the Riverside Press-Enterprise in 1994. "That was tantamount to a guilty verdict. But, yeah, I was a member of the party. I joined about 1937. What the hell did we know then? They passed out forms and said, 'Sign your name for hope and humanity.' I was all for hope and humanity, so I signed my name.
"I went to about five or six meetings. When I got bored at home, I'd go to a meeting. That's just about it, as far as I was concerned."
Pressured by the House Un-American Activities Committee, Mr. Lawrence admitted that he had been a member of the Communist Party and named other party members, something he felt guilty about for years.
To escape the blacklist in 1951, Mr. Lawrence and his writer wife, Fanya Foss, moved to Italy with their two children. Mr. Lawrence worked in Europe as an actor in numerous films over the next eight years. He also returned to the stage, receiving critical acclaim for his portrayal of Eddie Carbene in a 1958 London revival of Arthur Miller's "A View From the Bridge."
After returning to Hollywood in 1959, Mr. Lawrence began directing episodes of "Maverick," "77 Sunset Strip" and other TV series.
In 1963, he was back on the big screen playing a deported Mafia don in "Johnny Cool." The next year, he co-wrote, produced and directed the low-budget film "Nightmare in the Sun," starring John Derek and Ursula Andress. He later wrote, produced, directed and appeared in the 1972 thriller "Daddy's Deadly Darling."
Foss died in 1995.
Survivors include his second wife, Alicia; two children from his first marriage; and a step-daughter.