Abe Vigoda died in his sleep on Tuesday morning. The cause of the 94-year-old character actor’s death was old age, according to The Associated Press. “This man was never sick,” said his daughter, Carol Vigoda Fuchs, according to ABC News.
Vigoda had a long and impressive acting career, including notable roles in the films The Godfather, Look Who’s Talking, Cannonball Run II, and Joe Versus the Volcano, among others. He was also well known for playing the crotchety veteran detective Phil Fish in the 1970s TV series Barney Miller as well as in its subsequent spinoff series, Fish. The character was a memorable one, solving cases while battling hemorrhoids, grouching at others, and contemplating retirement.
Barney Miller, Vigoda’s first steady acting job, ran from 1975 to 1982. Vigoda was a regular on the show for the first three seasons and even juggled both Barney Miller and Fish simultaneously. Not only did Fish season 1 overlap with Barney Miller season 3, the actor continued to guest star on the former in the years after he left it.
Prior to making a name for himself as a talented character actor, Vigoda, who was born in 1921, had attended the Theater School of Dramatic Arts at Carnegie Hall. He found work in the theater and appeared in a variety of productions, including Richard II and the Broadway comedy Tough to Get Help, over multiple decades. Playing Sal in The Godfather, of course, was a game-changer; not surprisingly, he earned more film and TV roles following the success of the classic 1972 mafia movie.
Twice married, the actor is survived by his family, including his daughter, three grandchildren, and a great-grandson. Vigoda’s death is certainly a loss to his family, the film industry, and movie fans alike.