Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Abe Vigoda

Abe Vigoda is a movie and television character actor who has proved himself in both gritty dramatic roles and as an actor with wonderful comedic timing.

Abraham Charles "Abe" Vigoda was born February 24, 1921 in New York City. The son of Lena Moses and Samuel Vigoda, a tailor. Abe Vigoda's brother, Bill Vigoda, was a comic-book artist who drew for the Archie comics franchise and others in the 1940s.

Abe Vigoda began his acting career at age 17 and plodded away in small theatre shows for over 20 years.

In 1949, Abe Vigoda appeared in an episode of Suspense entitled Lunch Box which marked. Roles soon followed on episdoes of Studio One and Dark Shadows.

In 1965, Abe Vigoda made his film debut as a waiter in Three Rooms in Manhattan.

In 1972, Abe Vigoda got his big break when he was cast to play Sal Tessio in The Godfather. He would reprise the role in The Godfather, Part II (1974).

In 1974, he would be cast as Detective Phil Fish in the now classic television show Barney Miller, a role which would earn him three Emmy nominations. He would reprise the character in the short lived spin off Fish.

A familiar face on television for the past forty years, Abe Vigoda has appeared in episdoes of Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Mannix, Hawaii Five-O, Wings, Law & Order, Mad About You, Kojak, The Rockford Files, Diagnosis Murder and many more television shows. Abe Vigoda also made frequent cameo appearances on The Late Show with Conan O'Brien.

Abe Vigoda also appeared in films such as Cannonball Run II (1984) Look Who's Talking (1989) Prancer (1989) Joe Versus the Volcano (1990) North (1994) and Crime Spree (2003).

On Broadway, Abe Vigoda has appeared in The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade, The Man in the Glass Booth, Inquest and Arsenic and Old Lace.

Abe Vigoda was married once, to Beatrice Schy from February 25, 1968 until her death on April 30, 1992. They had one child, a daughter, Carol.

In 1982, People magazine erroneously declared him dead. Abe Vigoda took the error with good humor, posing for a photograph showing him sitting up in a coffin, holding the magazine in question.

Erroneous reports of Abe Vigoda's death as well as questions of whether he is alive or dead have become a running joke, there is a website AbeVigoda.com lists Abe Vigoda's current state as dead or alive. In addition, A Late Night with David Letterman skit showed Letterman trying to summon Vigoda's ghost. Vigoda then walked in and declared, "I'm not dead, you idiot!" A November 2006 Conan O'Brien sketch showed an audience member summoning the dead. The "deceased person" turned out to be Vigoda.

Abe Vigoda's most recent appearance was in a Superbowl commercial for Snickers with Betty White.

Later this year, Abe Vigoda will appear as Mel in the movie Small Town Hero (2010).

Abe Vigoda, at the age of 89, is still very active. He currently has three film roles in pre production for upcoming movies Mobster Movie (2011), Mafioso II (2010) and The Driver (2010).

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