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Abe Vigoda



Place of birth:

New York City, New York, USA:


Tall, dour-faced and slouch-shouldered character actor Abe Vigoda proved himself in both gritty dramatic roles, and as an actor with wonderful comedic timing. Vigoda was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Lena (Moses) and Samuel Vigoda, both Russian Jewish immigrants. His father was a tailor on the Lower East Side. He made his first stage appearance at the age of 17 and plodded away in small theater shows for over 20 years. For the majority of film-goers, Vigoda first came to prominence in The Godfather (1972) as the double-crossing Tessio, pleading with Robert Duvall to get him off the hook "for old times' sake." He also appeared in its sequel. Vigoda had roles in a few nondescript TV films before landing the plum part of Sgt. Phil Fish on the brilliant sitcom Barney Miller (1974). Perhaps his best known role, Sgt. Fish proved popular enough to be spun off to his own (short-lived) series Fish (1977). With his long face and unusual looks, Vigoda remained in high demand in mafioso-type roles, and for a while in the mid-1980s, he was mistakenly believed to have been dead, leading producers to remark, "I need an Abe Vigoda type actor," not realizing Vigoda was still alive and well. The 1990s and beyond became busy again for him, with appearances in North (1994), The Misery Brothers (1995), A Brooklyn State of Mind (1998), and Crime Spree (2003). He continued acting into his 90s, surprising audiences with his entertaining style. Abe Vigoda died in his sleep on January 26, 2016 in Woodland Park, New Jersey.

Film Credits

Farce of the Penguins (2006)
as Penguin from Boca (voice)
1 Night in Paris (2004)
as The Watcher
Just the Ticket (1999)
as Arty
Witness to the Mob (1998)
as Paul Castellano
A Brooklyn State of Mind (1998)
as Uncle Guy
Good Burger (1997)
as Otis
Underworld (1996)
as Will Cassady
Love Is All There Is (1996)
as Rudy
Jury Duty (1995)
as Judge Powell
The Misery Brothers (1995)
as Don Frito Layleone
North (1994)
as Alaskan Grandpa
Sugar Hill (1994)
as Gus Molino
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)
as Salvatore Valestra (voice)
Fist of Honor (1993)
as Victor Malucci
Keaton's Cop (1990)
as Louis Keaton
Joe Versus the Volcano (1990)
as Chief of the Waponis
Prancer (1989)
as Orel Benton
Look Who's Talking (1989)
as Grandpa
Plain Clothes (1988)
as Mr. Wiseman
Vasectomy: A Delicate Matter (1986)
as Abe
The Stuff (1985)
as Stuff Commercial Spokesman
Cannonball Run II (1984)
as Caesar
The Big Stuffed Dog (1981)
as Carnival Pitchman
Death Car on the Freeway (1979)
as Mr. Frisch
The Cheap Detective (1978)
as Sergeant Rizzuto
Joys (1976)
The Godfather: Part II (1974)
as Tessio
Newman's Law (1974)
as John Dellanzia
The Don Is Dead (1973)
as Don Talusso
The Devil's Daughter (1973)
as Alikhine
The Godfather (1972)
as Salvatore "Sally" Tessio
Trois chambres à Manhattan (1965)
as Waiter (uncredited)