Image of Abe Vigoda

Abe Vigoda

Tall, dour-faced and slouch-shouldered character actor Abe Vigoda proved himself in both gritty dramatic roles, and as an actor with wonderful comedic timing. Vigoda was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Lena (Moses) and Samuel Vigoda, both Russian Jewish immigrants. His father was a tailor on the Lower East Side. He made his first stage appearance at the age of 17 and plodded away in small theater shows for over 20 years. For the majority of film-goers, Vigoda first came to prominence in The Godfather (1972) as the double-crossing Tessio, pleading with Robert Duvall to get him off the hook "for old times' sake." He also appeared in its sequel. Vigoda had roles in a few nondescript TV films before landing the plum part of Sgt. Phil Fish on the brilliant sitcom Barney Miller (1974). Perhaps his best known role, Sgt. Fish proved popular enough to be spun off to his own (short-lived) series Fish (1977). With his long face and unusual looks, Vigoda remained in high demand in mafioso-type roles, and for a while in the mid-1980s, he was mistakenly believed to have been dead, leading producers to remark, "I need an Abe Vigoda type actor," not realizing Vigoda was still alive and well. The 1990s and beyond became busy again for him, with appearances in North (1994), The Misery Brothers (1995), A Brooklyn State of Mind (1998), and Crime Spree (2003). He continued acting into his 90s, surprising audiences with his entertaining style. Abe Vigoda died in his sleep on January 26, 2016 in Woodland Park, New Jersey.

Feb 24, 1921 In New York City, New York, USA
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
In the movie Three Rooms in Manhattan 1965-11-10
Latest Project:
Movie Farce of the Penguins 2006-12-01
Known For
Poster of The Godfather: Part II
Poster of The Godfather
Movie Farce of the Penguins Penguin from Boca (voice) 2006-12-01
Movie 1 Night in Paris The Watcher 2004-06-09
Movie Just the Ticket Arty 1999-02-26
Movie Witness to the Mob Paul Castellano 1998-05-10
Movie A Brooklyn State of Mind Uncle Guy 1998-01-01
Movie Good Burger Otis 1997-07-25
Movie Underworld Will Cassady 1996-06-01
Movie Love Is All There Is Rudy 1996-05-10
Movie Jury Duty Judge Powell 1995-04-12
Movie The Misery Brothers Don Frito Layleone 1995-01-01
Movie North Alaskan Grandpa 1994-07-22
Movie Sugar Hill Gus Molino 1994-02-25
Movie Batman: Mask of the Phantasm Salvatore Valestra (voice) 1993-12-25
Movie Fist of Honor Victor Malucci 1993-05-19
Movie Joe Versus the Volcano Chief of the Waponis 1990-03-09
Movie Keaton's Cop Louis Keaton 1990-03-09
Movie Prancer Orel Benton 1989-11-17
Movie Look Who's Talking Grandpa 1989-10-12
Movie Plain Clothes Mr. Wiseman 1988-01-01
Movie Vasectomy: A Delicate Matter Abe 1986-01-01
Movie The Stuff Stuff Commercial Spokesman 1985-06-14
Movie Cannonball Run II Caesar 1984-06-29
Movie The Big Stuffed Dog Carnival Pitchman 1981-02-08
Movie Death Car on the Freeway Mr. Frisch 1979-09-24
Movie The Cheap Detective Sergeant Rizzuto 1978-06-23
Movie Joys 1976-03-05
Movie The Godfather: Part II Tessio 1974-12-20
Movie Newman's Law John Dellanzia 1974-08-21
Movie The Don Is Dead Don Talusso 1973-11-14
Movie The Devil's Daughter Alikhine 1973-01-09
Movie The Godfather Salvatore "Sally" Tessio 1972-03-14
Movie Three Rooms in Manhattan Waiter (uncredited) 1965-11-10