Abe Vigoda, 94
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After decades in the theater, the Brooklyn-born actor found screen fame in “The Godfather” and “Barney Miller.”
"Brando, Caan, Pacino, De Niro -- you can imagine how I felt. ‘The Godfather’ changed my life."
- Abe Vigoda
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Vigoda was 50 years old when he was cast as Sal Tessio in Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather.” He had built a career on and off Broadway before that breakthrough role.
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In 1973, Vigoda landed the role of Detective Fish in the television series “Barney Miller.”
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After the success of “Barney Miller,” Vigoda moved to a spinoff called “Fish,” about the detective raising five foster children of diverse backgrounds.
When Vigoda died in January, it was not the first time. In 1982 People magazine erroneously reported that he had passed away; in response, Vigoda ran an ad in Variety that featured a photo of himself sitting up in a coffin, holding the magazine. This became a running gag in pop culture, Vigoda poked fun at his close call on several late-night TV appearances, and Internet wags created a website with the URL IsAbeVigodaDead.com.