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:
In the movie The Godfather Duology
Latest Project:
Series Dinah! 2019
Known For
Poster of Dinah!
Poster of TV Land Awards: A Celebration of Classic TV
Poster of Tattletales
Poster of Toma
Movie The Godfather Duology Sal Tessio 2020
Series Dinah! Unknown 2019
Movie The Unknown Trilogy Uncle Morty (segment "Frankie the Squirrel") 2008-01-29
Movie Farce of the Penguins Penguin from Boca (voice) 2006-12-01
Movie 1 Night in Paris The Watcher 2004-06-09
Series TV Land Awards: A Celebration of Classic TV Unknown 2003-03-12
Series Deadline Unknown 2000-10-02
Movie Just the Ticket Arty 1999-02-26
Series Family Guy Unknown 1999-01-31
Series The Norm Show Unknown 1999-03-24
Movie Witness to the Mob Paul Castellano 1998-05-10
Movie A Brooklyn State of Mind Uncle Guy 1998-01-01
Movie Good Burger Otis 1997-07-25
Series Promised Land Unknown 1996-09-17
Movie Love Is All There Is Rudy 1996-05-10
Movie Underworld Will Cassady 1996-06-01
Movie Jury Duty Judge Powell 1995-04-12
Movie The Misery Brothers Don Frito Layleone 1995-01-01
Series Touched by an Angel Unknown 1994-09-21
Movie North Alaskan Grandpa 1994-07-22
Series Weird Science Unknown 1994-03-05
Movie Sugar Hill Gus Molino 1994-02-25
Movie Fist of Honor Victor Malucci 1993-05-19
Series Diagnosis: Murder Unknown 1993-10-29
Series Late Night with Conan O'Brien Unknown 1993-09-13
Movie Batman: Mask of the Phantasm Salvatore Valestra (voice) 1993-12-25
Series Mad About You Unknown 1992-09-23
Series Lucky Luke Unknown 1992-03-20
Series The Adventures of the Black Stallion Unknown 1992-01-05
Series Law & Order Unknown 1990-09-13
Series Wings Unknown 1990-04-19
Movie Keaton's Cop Louis Keaton 1990-03-09
Movie Joe Versus the Volcano Chief of the Waponis 1990-03-09
Movie Prancer Orel Benton 1989-11-17
Movie Look Who's Talking Grandpa 1989-10-12
Series B.L. Stryker Unknown 1989-02-13
Series Superboy Unknown 1988-10-08
Series Monsters Unknown 1988-10-01
Movie Plain Clothes Mr. Wiseman 1988-04-15
Movie Vasectomy: A Delicate Matter Abe 1986-01-01
Movie The Stuff Stuff Commercial Spokesman 1985-06-14
Movie Cannonball Run II Caesar 1984-06-29
Series Murder, She Wrote Unknown 1984-09-30
Series Harper Valley Unknown 1981-01-16
Movie The Big Stuffed Dog Carnival Pitchman 1981-02-08
Movie Death Car on the Freeway Mr. Frisch 1979-09-24
Series B. J. and the Bear Unknown 1979-02-10
Series Supertrain Unknown 1979-02-07
Series Sweepstakes Unknown 1979-01-26
Series The Littlest Hobo Unknown 1979-10-11
Series Vega$ Unknown 1978-09-20
Movie The Cheap Detective Sergeant Rizzuto 1978-06-23
Series Eight Is Enough Unknown 1977-03-15
Series Fish 1977-02-05
Series The Love Boat Unknown 1977-09-24
Series The Captain and Tennille Unknown 1976-09-20
Movie Joys 1976-03-05
Series The Bionic Woman Unknown 1976-01-14
Series Barney Miller Unknown 1975-01-23
Series Tattletales Unknown 1974-02-18
Movie Newman's Law John Dellanzia 1974-08-21
Movie The Godfather: Part II Tessio 1974-12-20
Series Tony Orlando and Dawn Unknown 1974-12-04
Series Kojak Unknown 1973-10-24
Series Toma Unknown 1973-03-21
Movie The Devil's Daughter Alikhine 1973-01-09
Movie The Don Is Dead Don Talusso 1973-11-14
Series The Sandy Duncan Show 1972-09-17
Series The Rookies Unknown 1972-09-11
Movie The Godfather Salvatore "Sally" Tessio 1972-03-15
Series Cannon Unknown 1971-09-14
Series Hawaii Five-O Unknown 1968-09-20
Series Mannix Unknown 1967-09-16
Series Dark Shadows Unknown 1966-06-27
Movie Three Rooms in Manhattan Waiter (uncredited) 1965-11-10
Series The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson Unknown 1962-10-01
Series Suspense Unknown 1949-01-06
Series Studio One Unknown 1948-11-07