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Author Topic: Abe Vigoda, Barney Miller star, Dead at 94 (not a hoax)  (Read 1098 times)
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« on: January 26, 2016, 02:40:02 PM »



http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wireStory/abe-vigoda-sunken-eyed-character-actor-dead-94-36528884

NEW YORK Jan 26, 2016, 2:36 PM ET
Character actor Abe Vigoda, whose leathery, sunken-eyed face made him ideal for playing the over-the-hill detective Phil Fish in the 1970s TV series "Barney Miller" and the doomed Mafia soldier in "The Godfather," died Tuesday at age 94.
 
Vigoda's daughter, Carol Vigoda Fuchs, told The Associated Press that Vigoda died Tuesday morning in his sleep at Fuchs' home in Woodland Park, New Jersey. The cause of death was old age. "This man was never sick," Fuchs said.
 
Vigoda worked in relative obscurity as a supporting actor in the New York theater and in television until Francis Ford Coppola cast him in the 1972 Oscar-winning "The Godfather." Vigoda played Sal Tessio, an old friend of Vito Corleone's (Marlon Brando) who hopes to take over the family after Vito's death by killing his son Michael Corleone (Al Pacino). But Michael anticipates that Sal's suggestion for a "peace summit" among crime families is a setup and the escorts Sal thought were taking him to the meeting turn out to be his executioners.
 
"Tell Mike it was only business," Sal mutters to consigliere Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall) as he's led away.
 
The great success of the film and "The Godfather Part II" made his face and voice, if not his name, recognizable to the general public and led to numerous roles, often as hoodlums.
 
But it was his comic turn in "Barney Miller," which starred Hal Linden and ran from 1975 to 1982, that brought Vigoda's greatest recognition.
 

His resemblance to Boris Karloff led to his casting in the 1986 New York revival of "Arsenic and Old Lace," playing the role Karloff originated on the stage in the 1940s. (The murderous character in the black comedy is famously said by other characters to resemble Boris Karloff, a great joke back when the real Karloff was playing him.)
 
Born in New York City in 1921, Vigoda attended the Theater School of Dramatic Arts at Carnegie Hall. In the early 1950s, he appeared as straight man for the Jimmy Durante and Ed Wynn TV comedies.
 
For 30 years, he worked in the theater, acting in dozens of plays in such diverse characters as John of Gaunt in "Richard II" (his favorite role) and Abraham Lincoln in a short-lived Broadway comedy "Tough to Get Help."
 
Vigoda attributed his high percentage in winning roles to his performance in auditions. Instead of delivering the tired soliloquies that most actors performed, he wrote his own, about a circus barker. At a surprise 80th birthday party in New Jersey in 2001, he gave a spirited recital of the monologue to the delight of the 100 guests.
 
Reflecting on his delayed success, Vigoda once remarked: "When I was a young man, I was told success had to come in my youth. I found this to be a myth. My experiences have taught me that if you deeply believe in what you are doing, success can come at any age."
 
"Barney Miller" became his first steady acting job.
 

RIP
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