Tall, dour-faced and slouch-shouldered character actor who has proved himself in both gritty dramatic roles and as an actor with wonderful comedic timing. Vigoda was the son of a Lower East Side tailor. He made his first stage appearance at the age of 17 and plodded away in small theatre shows for over 20 years. For the majority of filmgoers, 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 also appeared in a few non-descript TV films before landing the plum role 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 realising 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). Still acting in his eighties, Abe Vigoda is continually surprising audiences with his entertaining style.
|Beatrice Schy||(25 February 1968 - 30 April 1992) (her death) 1 child|
Thick, bushy eyebrows
Deep and distinctive voice
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 highly acclaimed playing the eponymous villain in "Richard III" for in the Public Theater's "Shakespeare in the Park" production in the 1960s.
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).
(Explaining how he ended up playing Det. Sgt. Fish on Barney Miller) "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 hemorrhoids.' 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.
(December 2005) Currently living in New York City
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