Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Abe Vigoda (1921-2016)

After years of false reports, such that he could've invoked the words of Mark Twain anytime he wanted to, character actor Abe Vigoda passed away at 94, one month shy of his 95th birthday.

To audiences in the 70's, Vigoda might've been what we'd call a late bloomer. He appeared in "The Godfather", but is better known for portraying police detective Phil Fish on Barney Miller (1975-82) and a short-lived spin-off, Fish (1977-8). Vigoda also appeared in character in a quick spot for Fresca around the late 70's, and appeared at the end of a Snickers commercial that also featured that other ageless wonder, Betty White.

In the 90's, Vigoda was cast in a supporting role in the animated movie, "Batman: Mask of the Phantasm". Cast as a mobster, Vigoda's film career had, in effect, come full circle. He appeared on stage with the rock group, Phish, as recently as 2013. What you might not know, though, and I only found this out myself, is that Fish's wife, Bernice (Florence Stanley), was named after Vigoda's real-life wife.

A while back, I did a review on Fish, but had to settle for a commercial, since no episodes were available at the time. Meantime, scope this sample clip:

Rest in peace, Abe. You've earned it.

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