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Abe Vigoda Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (2) | Trivia (14) | Personal Quotes (3)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 24 February 1921New York City, New York, USA
Date of Death 26 January 2016Woodland Park, New Jersey, USA  (natural causes)
Birth NameAbraham Charles Vigodah
Height 6' (1.83 m)

Mini Bio (1)

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.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: firehouse44

Spouse (2)

Beatrice Schy (25 February 1968 - 30 April 1992) (her death) (1 child)
Sonja Gohlke (? - ?) (divorced) (1 child)

Trade Mark (2)

Thick, bushy eyebrows
Deep and distinctive voice

Trivia (14)

Has one daughter, Carol.
Is a regularly recurring visitor on Late Night with Conan O'Brien (1993).
In the 1980s, a well-known magazine referred to Vigoda as "the late Abe Vigoda" in a story, leading to the belief by many that he was dead. Abe enjoyed some publicity from the premature death announcement, even posing for a photograph while sitting up in a coffin!
Is a well respected and longstanding member of the New York Friar's Club.
Was originally considered to play the part of The Monster in Mel Brooks' comedy classic Young Frankenstein (1974), given his height and tremendous resemblance to Boris Karloff.
Was highly acclaimed playing the eponymous villain in "Richard III" for in the Public Theater's "Shakespeare in the Park" production in the 1960s.
Was portrayed by Michael J. Nelson on an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (1988).
According to director Francis Ford Coppola, Abe was cast for the role of "Tessio" in The Godfather (1972) from an open casting call. He was selected from a pool of 500 unknown actors who auditioned for that role.
Abe's father Samuel Vigoda was a tailor in New York City.
Best remembered by the public for his role as Detective Fish in Barney Miller (1974).
Currently living in New York City [December 2005]
He appeared in two Best Picture Academy Award winners: The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather: Part II (1974).
Had 3 grandchildren. Jamie, Paul, and Steven Fuchs.
He is buried at Beth David Cemetery in Elmont, New York.

Personal Quotes (3)

(Explaining how he ended up playing Det. Sgt. Fish on Barney Miller (1974)) "I got the role because the producer thought I looked tired. But I looked tired because I had been jogging earlier that day. He said to me, 'You look tired, Abe.' I said, 'I am. I was just jogging five miles.' He said, 'You also look like you have haemorrhoids.' I said, 'What are you? A doctor or a producer?' And he said, 'Well, I'm a producer and you know what? You've got the role.' Just like that."
I've always been content just to be working and making a modest living for my wife and child.
While living in Los Angeles, I'd jog three to five miles a day. One morning jogging, my agent calls about a new series called Barney Miller (1974), saying, "Go there at once." Well, I was tired and exhausted ... I must have run five miles that morning. I said. "I have to go home and take a shower." "No, no, no. go right now to Studio City, you're very right for it, they know you from The Godfather (1972), they want to see you." "With my shorts?" "Go". Danny Arnold and Ted Flicker, the producers, look at me, I look at them, they look at me again. "You look tired." "Of course I'm tired, I jogged five miles this morning, I'm exhausted." "Yeah, yeah, tell me, you look like you have haemorrhoids." "What are you, a doctor or a producer?"

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