Character actor Abe Vigoda recalled as a class act

NEW YORK -- Nobody who knew "The Godfather" and "Barney Miller" actor Abe Vigoda made mourners smile through their tears Sunday faster than comedian and friend Gilbert Gottfried.

See Full Article

"This is the 20th time we buried Abe Vigoda," Gottfried announced.

It was a reference to a running joke about whether Vigoda, the character actor best known for his portrayal of Mafia soldier Sal Tessio in "The Godfather," was dead or alive -- the result of a false report of his death decades ago.

The true end came Tuesday when Vigoda died in his sleep at age 94 at his daughter's Woodland Park, New Jersey, home, where he went to escape the hazards of a blizzard.

"His big wish was not to be alone and not to die alone," said the daughter, Carol Vigoda-Fuchs. "So I'm grateful he got what he wanted."

Vigoda's 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 Oscar-winning "The Godfather."

His fame was cemented with his comic turn as over-the-hill detective Phil Fish in "Barney Miller," which ran from 1975 to 1982.

The program for the memorial service featured a photograph of the actor in a suit and tie with a line from Coppola's movie: "Can you get me off the hook ... for old times' sake?"

It was one of Vigoda's more memorable lines from the 1972 classic as his character, the doomed Tessio, pleaded for his life after he had turned against the Corleone Family. His request was denied.

The printed program included written tributes from fellow actors, including Robert Duvall, who said it was impossible to watch "The Godfather" and not remember his performance.

Todd Bridges, who worked with him on a sitcom spinoff of "Barney Miller," recalled him as "a man of dignity" who protected him like a father, including when he scolded a director for yelling at children on the set.

Bridges said Vigoda backed him during the darkest times of his life, telling others: "He's a good kid. He will find his way back."

"And I did," Bridges said.

Those who spoke at the memorial, where a large picture of Vigoda rested beside white flowers and before the crowd, included former New York City Mayor David Dinkins.

As the service ended, the theme from "The Godfather" serenaded the departing crowd.



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Weinstein Co. fires chief operating officer David Glasser

    Entertainment CBC News
    The board of the Weinstein Company has dismissed the beleaguered film studio's president and chief operating officer, less than a week after he was cited for failing to act on employee harassment complaints. In a statement, the studio said its board "has unanimously voted to terminate David Glasser for cause. Source
  • Vince Gill defends Grammys on female representation

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Vince Gill defended the Recording Academy over the criticism that female artists were underrepresented at this year's Grammy Awards. Gill said it is "impossible" to not leave someone off the list in a given year. Source
  • Stars to wear statement black at BAFTA awards

    Entertainment CBC News
    The red carpet will be a sea of black as the movement against sexual misconduct takes centre stage at the British Academy Film Awards. Many female stars and other guests are expected to dress in monochrome for Sunday's ceremony as a statement of solidarity with victims of sexual harassment and abuse. Source
  • Jimmy Kimmel blasts Donald Trump, Congress for Florida school shooting

    Entertainment CBC News
    Jimmy Kimmel opened his late night show by replaying clips from President Donald Trump's statement about the killings of 17 people by a teenager with an AR-15 assault weapon at a Florida high school — including the part where Trump said "no parent should ever have to fear for their sons and daughters when they kiss them goodbye in the morning. Source
  • Hedley fans at concert standing by their band despite allegations

    Entertainment CBC News
    Sexual misconduct allegations swirling around Canadian pop band Hedley didn't prevent many Manitoba fans from heading to see the band perform live at Brandon's Keystone Centre on Friday night. The allegations against the Juno award-winning band — comprising Jacob Hoggard, Dave Rosin, Tommy Mac and Jay Benison — gained mainstream attention earlier this week. Source
  • Miami giveaways were for Drake's new God's Plan video

    Entertainment CBC News
    It was one oversized cheque after another as Drake shot his new video for God's Plan in Miami last week, and now we know why. A nearly six-minute video for his new single was released Friday, with the feature players consisting of joyful — and sometimes tearful — people receiving gifts from the 6 God. Source
  • Exploring power and privilege: why Black Panther is a hero for our time

    Entertainment CBC News
    From the moment the talking drum announces the entrance of the Wakandan king, Black Panther sets itself apart from its comic book-inspired brethren. Sure, it's still a superhero film, with all that term entails — chase sequences, fantastical weapons, cackling bad guys. Source
  • Judge rejects challenge of Toronto actress' lawsuit against Weinstein

    Entertainment CTV News
    TORONTO - A judge has rejected a challenge to a Toronto actress' sexual assault lawsuit against disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, his former assistant and two entertainment companies. Weinstein's former assistant, Barbara Schneeweiss, had launched the challenge to the lawsuit, arguing the allegations that concerned her were subject to a statute of limitations that had expired. Source
  • Soulpepper loses $375K of planned federal funding in wake of sexual harassment scandal

    Entertainment CBC News
    A planned increase in federal funding for Soulpepper Theatre has been voted down by the Canada Council for the Arts' board of directors. On Thursday, the council's board voted to rescind an increase of $375,500 the theatre company was set to receive. Source
  • Elton John struck in face by necklace during Vegas concert

    Entertainment CTV News
    Music legend Sir Elton John was left reeling after a member of the audience threw a beaded necklace that struck him in the face during a concert in Las Vegas. The singer-songwriter was performing his popular song “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” at Caesar’s Palace on Wednesday night when the necklace hit him in the mouth. Source