Tuesday, January 26, 2016

To Absent Friends - Abe Vigoda

Abe Vigoda
1921 - 2016

News arrives today of the death of character actor Abe Vigoda at the age of 94.

IMDB lists 94 acting credits for Vigoda stretching back to 1949, and as recent as 2014.  Over a long acting career, he appeared in countless television shows and movies, including a role in "As the World Turns" way back in 1956, but he is no doubt best known for two roles.

The first was the part of Sal Tessio in "The Godfather" (1972), the once loyal capo to Don Vito Corleone, but who threw his lot in with Don Barzini in an effort to undermine young Michael Corleone.  It didn't end well.

The other noteworthy part was that of world weary Detective Phil Fish in one of the great sitcoms of all time, "Barney Miller" (1974-81).  That show even led to a short-lived spin off Series, "Fish".

His bio in IMDB tells the the story of how rumors persisted in the late 1980's that Vigoda had died and took hold to the point that casting directors would often say things like "I need an Abe Vigoda-type", not realizing that the genuine article was still available.

The best tribute to actors like Vigoda is that they were able to find work right up to the end of their lives.  Hey, he even did that Snickers commercial that ran on the Super Bowl a few years back.

Let us close with perhaps Vigoda's most memorable scene.  From "The Godfaher"...

RIP Abe Vigoda.

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