R.I.P. – Character Actor Abe Vigoda Dead at 94!

Abe Vigoda

I realize that death is a fact of life but when it happens to so many of your beloved acting heroes that you thought were invincible it really hits home. More sad news to report tonight as great character actor Abe Vigoda has passed away at the age of 94! Vigoda’s daughter has confirmed that her father passed away in his sleep today.

I have always loved the work of Mr. Vigoda for a bizarre reason, ever since I was a child, I thought he was the spitting image of Boris Karloff and I have loved him ever since.

Vigoda was known primarily for his role of Detective Fish in the wonderful sitcom Barney Miller from the 1970’s and for his role in The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather: Part II (1974). Vigoda had that sad face that made him perfect to play mobsters in film and TV. He had some notable genre appearances as well, including Monsters (TV Series), Tales from the Darkside (TV Series), The Devil’s Daughter (TV Movie), Dark Shadows (TV Series) and many others.

Mr. Vigoda, tall and graying with a long face, sturdy jaw and deep-set eyes, was a 50-year-old stage actor who had earned his stripes on and off Broadway performing Shakespeare, Strindberg and Shaw when he got his big Hollywood break, winning the role of Salvatore Tessio in Francis Ford Coppola’s epic 1972 adaptation of the Mario Puzo novel The Godfather.

Abraham Charles Vigoda was born in New York City on Feb. 24, 1921, to Samuel Vigoda, a tailor, and the former Lena Moses, immigrants from Russia. Abe, one of three brothers, began acting as a teenager and turned professional in 1947, performing almost entirely onstage for the next 20 or more years.

In addition to his daughter, Mr. Vigoda is survived by three grandchildren and a great-grandson, The Associated Press reported. His second wife, Beatrice Schy, died in 1992.

After his successes in The Godfather and Barney Miller, Mr. Vigoda was seen in several television movies and on many prime-time series, including Law & Order, Mad About You and Touched by an Angel. He also appeared on the daytime soap operas As the World Turns in 1985 and Santa Barbara in 1989.

He acted in dozens of movies as well, including Cannonball Run II (1984), Look Who’s Talking (1989), Joe Versus the Volcano (1990), Sugar Hill (1993) and Underworld (1996). One of his last performances was in a Snickers commercial, first shown during the 2010 Super Bowl, which also featured his fellow octogenarian Betty White.

He continued to make occasional television and film appearances well into the 21st century, but it was the first film that mattered the most to him.

There had also been a running joke in the Hollywood community as Vigoda had been reported dead at least 37 times over the past couple of decades. It had become a running joke for a news outlet to report of Vigoda’s false death.

Mr. Vigoda was a likable actor and gentleman of stage, screen and television. We here at Horror Society would like to offer our sincerest condolences to Abe Vigoda’s family and friends in this difficult time. Mr. Vigoda, you have left a permanent mark on my life and many others who have had the sincerest pleasure of watching your work. You will live on eternally through all your wonderful roles. God speed kind sir, you will be missed!

R.I.P. Abe Vigoda 1921 – 2016


Source: The New York Times


Written by Michael Juvinall

I am a Horror journalist, producer, ravenous Horror fiend, aficionado of the classic Universal Monsters, Hammer Horror, Werewolves, and all things Horror.