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Abe Vigoda, known as Fish, Star of The Godfather and Barney Miller Dies at Age 94


DonLever

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(CNN)Abe Vigoda, who played the decrepit Detective Phil Fish in the television sitcom "Barney Miller" and Mafia lieutenant Sal Tessio in the original "Godfather" movie, died Tuesday, according to his manager, Sid Craig.

He was 94.

 

Vigoda passed away at the New Jersey home of his daughter, Carol.

'Godfather' actor Abe Vigoda dies at 94
 
 
 
'Godfather' actor Abe Vigoda dies at 94 00:45

Though Vigoda achieved a good bit of fame from his 1970s "Godfather" role, his years on "Barney Miller" and the short-lived spinoff "Fish," he arguably became best known for being alive despite reports of his premature demise.

"I hope he knew about our tribute, and I hope he was amused by it. Our intent was always to bring a smile by pointing to his longevity, which was an inspiration," said Sun Sentinel reporter Rafael Olmeda, who ran Vigoda-themed social media pages.

 
A noted New York stage actor by the time Francis Ford Coppola came calling about "The Godfather," Vigoda had not read the book and wasn't thinking about mobster roles; he was Jewish, not Italian.

But Coppola liked him as a mobster, and he won the role of Tessio in the 1972 original and returned for the 1974 sequel.

"The Godfather" was his first really big job, and he remembered a car being sent for him every day of shooting and sitting near Marlon Brando during makeup.

"I found him to be a quiet man. He kept mostly to himself," Vigoda told CNN in 2008. "He was a great star. This was my first big thing: I felt lucky and grateful I was with these people."

Notable to him was the presence of actual New York mob family members on the set. "They kept looking at me, as if to say, 'What family is he from?' " Vigoda said. "It was fascinating."

Robert Duvall, a "Godfather" co-star, remembered Vigoda in a statement.

"We had some great memories together and he will really be missed," Duvall said

 

The "Godfather" movies led to his successful run on "Barney Miller," which ran from 1974-82 and starred Hal Linden as the title character. Vigoda was on the show until 1977.

"Abe was responsible for as much of the success of 'Barney Miller' as I was -- easily. More so than me," Linden told CNN. "We all owe a great debt of gratitude to a fine character actor who created a very memorable character that will go on and on, with all the re-runs. Thank God people will get to see what Abe did."

Vigoda was nominated for three Emmy awards for his performance as Fish. In contrast to the very fit Vigoda, a dedicated handball player and jogger, Detective Fish complained about his aches, his pains, his bladder problems and hemorrhoids, always seeming on the verge of death.

 

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6 hours ago, DonLever said:

 

   
 
 

 

   
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 
(CNN)Abe Vigoda, who played the decrepit Detective Phil Fish in the television sitcom "Barney Miller" and Mafia lieutenant Sal Tessio in the original "Godfather" movie, died Tuesday, according to his manager, Sid Craig.

He was 94.

 

Vigoda passed away at the New Jersey home of his daughter, Carol.

'Godfather' actor Abe Vigoda dies at 94
 
 
 
'Godfather' actor Abe Vigoda dies at 94 00:45

Though Vigoda achieved a good bit of fame from his 1970s "Godfather" role, his years on "Barney Miller" and the short-lived spinoff "Fish," he arguably became best known for being alive despite reports of his premature demise.

"I hope he knew about our tribute, and I hope he was amused by it. Our intent was always to bring a smile by pointing to his longevity, which was an inspiration," said Sun Sentinel reporter Rafael Olmeda, who ran Vigoda-themed social media pages.

 
A noted New York stage actor by the time Francis Ford Coppola came calling about "The Godfather," Vigoda had not read the book and wasn't thinking about mobster roles; he was Jewish, not Italian.

But Coppola liked him as a mobster, and he won the role of Tessio in the 1972 original and returned for the 1974 sequel.

"The Godfather" was his first really big job, and he remembered a car being sent for him every day of shooting and sitting near Marlon Brando during makeup.

"I found him to be a quiet man. He kept mostly to himself," Vigoda told CNN in 2008. "He was a great star. This was my first big thing: I felt lucky and grateful I was with these people."

Notable to him was the presence of actual New York mob family members on the set. "They kept looking at me, as if to say, 'What family is he from?' " Vigoda said. "It was fascinating."

Robert Duvall, a "Godfather" co-star, remembered Vigoda in a statement.

"We had some great memories together and he will really be missed," Duvall said

 

The "Godfather" movies led to his successful run on "Barney Miller," which ran from 1974-82 and starred Hal Linden as the title character. Vigoda was on the show until 1977.

"Abe was responsible for as much of the success of 'Barney Miller' as I was -- easily. More so than me," Linden told CNN. "We all owe a great debt of gratitude to a fine character actor who created a very memorable character that will go on and on, with all the re-runs. Thank God people will get to see what Abe did."

Vigoda was nominated for three Emmy awards for his performance as Fish. In contrast to the very fit Vigoda, a dedicated handball player and jogger, Detective Fish complained about his aches, his pains, his bladder problems and hemorrhoids, always seeming on the verge of death.

 

Guess Tom couldn't get him out of it........for old time's sake.

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