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.

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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.

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