Chuck Low, best known as Morrie the wig salesman in “Goodfellas, died earlier this month. He debuted in Scorsese’s underrated masterpiece “The King of Comedy,” appearing in just one scene, with no lines. I didn’t even notice him until my third viewing, the first time I watched “King” stoned. Low is the guy in the background, mimicking the animated gestures of perennial loser Rupert Pupkin.
Turns out he was an accidental actor, a Yankee version of Rick Deal, a furniture salesman and high school football announcer until childhood friend Billy Bob Thornton cast him as Bill Cox in “Sling Blade.” (Deal was also great in “The Apostle” and “Bernie.”)
Born in New York City in 1928, Low was a military veteran who served in the U.S. Army, became an engineer who made marine instruments, and in the 1960s started a real estate partnership with Lehman Brothers. Low became a pioneer developer in Tribeca, playing a key role in the New York City neighborhood’s transformation into luxury lofts and high-end restaurants. It was in this capacity that he met Tribeca’s most famous resident Robert De Niro, who became both Low’s tenant and friend.