Notable character actor Abe Vigoda has died at age 94, multiple news outlets report.
Vigota was known for his roles in “The Godfather” and the 1970s TV series “Barney Miller.”
Vigoda’s daughter, Carol Vigoda Fuchs, told The Associated Pressthat Vigoda died Tuesday morning in his sleep at Fuchs’ home in Woodland Park, New Jersey. The cause of death was old age.
Vigoda was 50 and a star of the stage when he got his Hollywood break as Tessio in “Godfather,” The New York Times reported.
“I’m really not a Mafia person,” Vigoda, who was of Russian-Jewish descent, told Vanity Fair magazine in 2009. “I’m an actor who spent his life in the theater. But Francis (Coppola) said, ‘I want to look at the Mafia not as thugs and gangsters but like royalty in Rome.’ And he saw something in me that fit Tessio as one would look at the classics in Rome.”
According to the New York Times, People magazine erroneously reported that he died in 1982. He responded by placing an ad in Variety with him sitting in a coffin and holding a copy of the magazine.
David Letterman and Conan O’Brien invited him onto their late-night shows to prove he was still alive, the Times reported. A website, abevigoda.com, continued to give updates on his status.