Alfred L. Hurwitz, an insurance agent from Baltimore who found joy as a bit player in television and the movies, died of complications from a viral infection yesterday at Northwest Hospital Center. He was 79.
Mr. Hurwitz spent much of his professional life handling life insurance as an independent agent affiliated with the John Hancock and Diversified companies. He was also a financial planner.
Over the past decade, he also appeared in TV commercials for LifeBridge Health medical centers and other companies, and as an on-screen extra. He played a small part on NBC's The West Wing, portraying Dr. Lawrence Altman, a medical correspondent for The New York Times.
He also appeared briefly as an assistant coach to Gene Hackman in the movie The Replacements.
"It was a fun hobby that later in life became a nice diversion for him," said his daughter, Jill Hurwitz of Chicago. "It was very different from the job that he had had for years."
He was also devoted to charitable work, serving as a volunteer associate to Hadassah, a women's charitable organization that runs hospitals and schools in Israel. His wife of more than 50 years, the former Ruth Borscher, is the former national treasurer of Hadassah.
For 48 years, he and his wife were members of the Towne Drama Group, a local club that performed readings of plays every month.
Growing up in East Baltimore, Mr. Hurwitz helped run his family's shoe store, helping his widowed mother in all areas of the business. He graduated from Polytechnic Institute in the 1940s and attended the Johns Hopkins University for three years, studying engineering. He served as a second lieutenant in the Army during the Korean War, stationed in Kentucky.
A lover of learning, Mr. Hurwitz traveled with his wife to Israel, Cuba, South America, China, and Greece, often taking seminars and workshops along the way.
Services will be held at 9 a.m. Wednesday at Sol Levinson & Bros., 8900 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville.
In addition to his wife and daughter, he is survived by a son, Lawrence Hurwitz of New York; and three granddaughters.