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.

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Feb 24, 1921 In New York City, New York, USA
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
Movie The Unknown Trilogy 2008-01-29
Latest Project:
In the series Studio One 1948-11-07
Known For
Poster of TV Land Awards: A Celebration of Classic TV
Poster of B.L. Stryker
Poster of Tony Orlando and Dawn
Poster of The Rockford Files
Movie The Unknown Trilogy Uncle Morty (segment "Frankie the Squirrel")
Movie Farce of the Penguins Penguin from Boca (voice)
Movie 1 Night in Paris The Watcher
Series TV Land Awards: A Celebration of Classic TV Unknown
Series Deadline Unknown
Movie Chump Change
Series The Norm Show Unknown
Movie Just the Ticket Arty
Series Family Guy Unknown
Movie A Brooklyn State of Mind Uncle Guy
Movie Witness to the Mob Paul Castellano
Movie Good Burger Otis
Series Promised Land Unknown
Movie Underworld Will Cassady
Movie Love Is All There Is Rudy
Movie Jury Duty Judge Powell
Movie The Misery Brothers Don Frito Layleone
Series Weird Science Unknown
Movie Sugar Hill Gus Molino
Movie North Alaskan Grandpa
Series Touched by an Angel Sal
Movie Batman: Mask of the Phantasm Salvatore Valestra (voice)
Series Diagnosis: Murder Unknown
Series Late Night with Conan O'Brien Unknown
Movie Fist of Honor Victor Malucci
Series Mad About You Unknown
Series Lucky Luke Unknown
Series The Adventures of the Black Stallion Unknown
Movie Joe Versus the Volcano Chief of the Waponis
Series Wings Unknown
Movie Keaton's Cop Louis Keaton
Series Law & Order Unknown
Movie Prancer Orel Benton
Movie Look Who's Talking Grandpa
Series B.L. Stryker Unknown
Series Superboy Unknown
Series Monsters Unknown
Movie Plain Clothes Mr. Wiseman
Movie Vasectomy: A Delicate Matter Abe
Movie The Stuff Stuff Commercial Spokesman
Series Murder, She Wrote Unknown
Movie Cannonball Run II Caesar
Movie The Big Stuffed Dog Carnival Pitchman
Series Harper Valley Unknown
Series The Littlest Hobo Unknown
Movie Death Car on the Freeway Mr. Frisch
Series B. J. and the Bear Unknown
Series Supertrain Unknown
Series Sweepstakes Unknown
Series Vega$ Unknown
Movie The Cheap Detective Sergeant Rizzuto
Series Fish
Series The Love Boat Charlie Fletcher
Series Eight Is Enough Unknown
Series Mario Puzo's The Godfather: The Complete Novel for Television Salvatore "Sal" Tessio (uncredited)
Series The Captain and Tennille Unknown
Movie Joys
Series The Bionic Woman Unknown
Series Barney Miller Unknown
Movie The Story of Pretty Boy Floyd Dominic Morrell
Series Tattletales Unknown
Series Tony Orlando and Dawn Unknown
Movie Newman's Law John Dellanzia
Series The Rockford Files Phil 'The Dancer' Gabriel
Movie The Godfather: Part II Tessio
Movie The Don Is Dead Don Talusso
Series Kojak Unknown
Series Toma Unknown
Movie The Devil's Daughter Alikhine
Movie The Godfather Salvatore "Sally" Tessio
Series The Rookies Unknown
Series The Sandy Duncan Show Unknown
Series Cannon Unknown
Series Hawaii Five-O Unknown
Series Mannix Unknown
Series Dark Shadows Unknown
Movie Three Rooms in Manhattan Waiter (uncredited)
Series The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson Unknown
Series Suspense Unknown
Series Studio One Unknown