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Allan Rich dead: Actor who beat the Hollywood blacklist dies of 'progressive dementia'

Hollywood actor Allan Rich has died at the age of 94 of complications from progressive dementia, his family confirmed. He passed away on Saturday 22 August at the Lillian Booth Actors Home in New Jersey, where he spent the last five years of his life.

Famous for his roles in Serpico, Quiz Show and Amistad, Rich made quite the name for himself in Hollywood over his many years in the acting industry.

But it wasn’t all fun and games to begin with, as the start of his screen career saw him blacklisted from Hollywood.

In the 1940s, Rich was part of the Theatrical Action Committee to Free Willie McGee, a Black man from Mississippi who had been convicted of rape in 1945 and electrocuted in 1951.

Rich’s advocacy of civil rights landed his name in Red Channels after he was branded an alleged communist sympathiser.

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Unable to get a job acting, Rich tried other avenues to source income for his young family and became a stockbroker, later setting up his own brokerage firm.

He also branched off into modern art, opening the Allan Rich Galleries on Madison Avenue.

Fortunately, he bounced back and went on to rack up well over 100 acting credits, his return debut being Harold Clurman’s After Theatre Master Class in the early 1960s.

In 1966 he appeared alongside Dustin Hoffman on stage in Journey of the Fifth Horse.

A memoir dedicated to his life A Leap From the Method, was published in 2007.

He also shared his unique acting techniques with many well-known film stars we see today, such as Sharon Stone, Jamie Lee Curtis, Rene Russo, Donna Dixon, Alan Thicke and Larry Miller.

His charitable side led him to co-found We Care About Kids in 1994, a non-profit organisation aimed to help high school youths fight prejudice through a series of free live-action educational short films.

Rich’s wife Elaine, whom he was married to for 62 years, passed away in 2015.

She was actress Fran Drescher’s personal manager, who described Rich as “always on the side of good and right”.


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