Abe Vigoda Poster


Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (2)  | Trade Mark (3)  | Trivia (13)  | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (4)

Born in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA
Died in Woodland Park, New Jersey, USA  (natural causes)
Birth NameAbraham Charles Vigodah
Height 6' 1" (1.85 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, a tailor -- 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 filmgoers, Vigoda first came to prominence in The Godfather (1972) as the double-crossing Tessio, pleading to no avail with Robert Duvall to save his life "for old times' sake". Vigoda had roles in a few nondescript TV films before landing the plum role of the dour, unsmiling, urinary tract-tormented Sgt. Phil Fish on the sitcom Barney Miller (1975), his best-known role. The character of Fish proved popular enough to be spun off to his own (albeit short-lived) series, Fish (1977).

With his long, blank, rarely smiling face, he 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 a producer to remark, "I need an Abe Vigoda type actor", not realizing Vigoda was still alive. The 1990s and beyond became busy again for Vigoda, making 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.

Vigoda died in his sleep on January 26, 2016, , a month before his 95th birthday, in suburban Woodland Park, New Jersey. He was interred in Beth David Cemetery in Elmont, New York.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: firehouse44/rms125a@hotmail.com

Family (2)

Spouse Beatrice Schy (25 February 1968 - 30 April 1992)  (her death)
Sonja Gohlke (? - ?)  (divorced)  (1 child)
Parents Lena Vigoda
Samuel Vigoda

Trade Mark (3)

Thick, bushy eyebrows
Deep and distinctive voice
Looking & sounding exactly like Boris Karloff

Trivia (13)

Had one daughter, Carol, and three grandchildren (Jamie, Paul, and Steven Fuchs) by his marriage to Sonja Gohlke.
Was 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!
Was a well-respected and long-standing member of New York's Friars 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 (1975).
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).
He is buried at Beth David Cemetery in Elmont, New York.

Personal Quotes (2)

(Explaining how he ended up playing Det. Sgt. Fish on Barney Miller (1975)) "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.

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