Famed character actor Abe Vigoda recalled as a class act

NEW YORK -- Those who knew actor Abe Vigoda say he was as big a character in real life as make believe.

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The actor who played Phil Fish on the 1970s TV series "Barney Miller" and Sal Tessio in the classic movie "The Godfather" was mourned at a funeral Sunday in New York.

Vigoda died Tuesday in his sleep at age 94 at his daughter's New Jersey home.

His life ended decades after a false report announced his death, leading to a long-running joke over whether he was dead or alive.

His step into fame came when director Francis Ford Coppola plucked him from obscurity as a supporting actor in New York theatre for a role in the 1972 Oscar-winning "The Godfather."



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