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Legendary Actor Abe Vigoda, Star of ‘The Godfather’ and ‘Barney Miller,’ Dead at 94

Larry Busacca, Getty Images
Larry Busacca, Getty Images

Veteran actor Abe Vigoda has enjoyed a career more vast and varied than many of his fellow performers, with a resumé that spans 65 years and includes everything from masterpieces like The Godfather to classic television like Barney Miller. Vigoda has reportedly passed away today at the age of 94, leaving behind an unforgettable legacy of film and television work.

Vigoda’s daughter confirmed the actor’s passing to the Associated Press, noting that Vigoda died simply of old age, adding “This man was never sick.”

The character actor began his career in the late ’40s and rose to stardom with a supporting role on Dark Shadows before his memorable turn in 1972’s The Godfather as mafia soldier Tessio. Vigoda reprised the role in The Godfather: Part II in 1974, and went on to become a household name as Detective Phil Fish, appearing on the Barney Miller TV series from 1974 to 1981. His character proved so popular that he received his own spinoff, simply titled Fish, which ran from 1977 to 1978.

Over the years, Vigoda capitalized on his distinctive voice and demeanor for memorable guest roles on everything from MacGyver to Fantasy Island. His film credits include Joe Versus the Volcano, Sugar Hill and more curious features like Jury Duty and Good Burger, proving just how game Vigoda was to indulge even the silliest humor.

Vigoda may be gone, but his legacy will endure with dozens of films and TV appearances to be discovered and re-discovered for decades to come.

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