Abe Vigoda

Biography

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.

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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Personal Info

Gender Male

Known Credits 69

Birthday 1921-02-24

Day of Death 2016-01-26

Place of Birth New York City, New York, USA

Adult Actor False

Official Site -

Also Known As

  • Abraham Charles Vigodah

Known For

Acting TV ShowsMovies

2003 TV Land Awards: A Celebration of Classic TV(1 episode)
2000 Deadline(1 episode)
1999 The Norm Show(1 episode)
1999 Just the Ticket as Arty
1999 Family Guy(1 episode)
1998 Witness To The Mob as Paul Castellano
1998 A Brooklyn State of Mind as Uncle Guy
1997 Good Burger as Otis
1996 Promised Land(1 episode)
1996 Underworld as Will Cassady
1996 Love Is All There Is as Rudy
1995 Jury Duty as Judge Powell
1994 Touched by an Angel(1 episode)
1994 North as Alaskan Grandpa
1994 Weird Science(1 episode)
1994 Sugar Hill as Gus Molino
1993 Batman: Mask of the Phantasm as Salvatore 'Sal the Wheezer' Valestra
1993 Diagnosis: Murder(1 episode)
1993 Late Night with Conan O'Brien(1 episode)
1993 Fist of Honor as Victor Malucci
1992 Mad About You(1 episode)
1992 Lucky Luke(1 episode)
1990 The Black Stallion(1 episode)
1990 Law & Order(1 episode)
1990 Wings(1 episode)
1990 Keaton's Cop as Louis Keaton
1990 Joe Versus the Volcano as Chief of the Waponis
1989 Prancer as Orel Benton
1989 Look Who's Talking as Grandpa
1989 B.L. Stryker(1 episode)
1988 Superboy(1 episode)
1988 Monsters(1 episode)
1988 Plain Clothes as Mr. Wiseman
1986 Vasectomy: A Delicate Matter as Abe
1984 Murder, She Wrote(1 episode)
1984 Cannonball Run II as Caesar
1981 Harper Valley PTA(1 episode)
1979 The Littlest Hobo(1 episode)
1979 Death Car on the Freeway as Mr. Frisch
1979 B. J. and the Bear(1 episode)
1979 Supertrain(1 episode)
1979 Sweepstakes(1 episode)
1978 The Cheap Detective as Sergeant Rizzuto
1978 Vega$(1 episode)
1977 The Love Boat(1 episode)
1977 Eight Is Enough(1 episode)
1977 Fish(35 episodes)
1976 The Captain and Tennille(1 episode)
1976 The Bionic Woman(1 episode)
1975 Barney Miller(2 episodes)
1974 The Godfather: Part II as Tessio
1974 Tony Orlando and Dawn(1 episode)
1974 Newman's Law as John Dellanzia
1973 The Don Is Dead as Don Talusso
1973 Kojak(1 episode)
1973 Toma(1 episode)
1973 The Devil's Daughter as Alikhine
1972 The Sandy Duncan Show(1 episode)
1972 The Rookies(1 episode)
1972 The Godfather as Salvatore "Sally" Tessio
1971 Cannon(1 episode)
1968 Hawaii Five-O(1 episode)
1967 Mannix(1 episode)
1966 Dark Shadows(3 episodes)
1962 The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson(1 episode)
1949 Suspense(1 episode)
1948 Westinghouse Studio One(1 episode)
1900 Tattletales(1 episode)
1900 Dinah!(1 episode)

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