Abe Vigoda was a versatile actor who could play both tough dramatic and comedic roles. He struggled though at the beginning of his career first appearing on stage at the age of 17 and worked in bit roles for twenty years.
Abe’s first break came in 1960’s with a reoccurring role in the TV horror soap, Dark Shadows. But his real big shot in show business came as the back stabbing ‘Tessio’ in Academy award winning film “The Godfather.” This was quickly followed with world-wide recognition thanks to the part of Det. Phillip Fish, the long-suffering, just waiting for retirement time cop in the TV series “Barney Miller.”
He also moved on to his own short-lived series “Fish,” a spin off from “Barney Miller.”
Abe was offered the role as The Monster in Mel Brooks “Young Frankenstein.”
His role as the villain in the 1960’s “Shakespeare in the Park” production of “Richard III” drew rave reviews.
Abe won the part of ‘Tessio’ in “The Godfather” from a group of over 500 who had auditioned.
Was once mistakenly reported as dead in People magazine.
On explaining how he won the role of Det. Fish on “Barney Miller” he said the producer said that he had looked tired. He explained he was tired from jogging 5 miles. The producer then said “You also look like you have hemorrhoids, in which he replied “What are you, a doctor or a producer?”
Birth Name: Abraham Charles Vigodah
Date Of Birth: February 24, 1921
Died: January 26, 2016
Country Of Birth: USA
Birth Place: New York City, New York
Height: 5′ 10″ (1.77 m)