Vigoda’s daughter, Carol Vigoda Fuchs, told The Associated Press that Vigoda died Tuesday morning in his sleep at Fuchs’ home in Woodland Park, New Jersey. The cause of death was old age. “This man was never sick,” Fuchs said.
In the 1970s Abe Vigoda was famous for two roles: first as the double-crossing gangster Tessio in The Godfather (“Tell Mike it was only business”) and then on the lighter side as the hangdog Detective Fish on the sitcom Barney Miller and its spinoff, Fish.
He was a good actor!
The Internet generation, however, knows Abe Vigoda as the “I’m not dead yet” guy. It started with a 1982 People magazine article that accidentally referred to him as “the late Abe Vigoda” and took off from there. Wikipedia says Vigoda “took the mistake with good humor, posing for a photograph published in Variety in which he was sitting up in a coffin, holding the erroneous issue of People.”
In 2010 he joined Betty White in the original spot in the Snickers “you’re not yourself” ad campaign. It remains the only truly great ad in the series, and like Vigoda in his Barney Miller days, it’s always good for a laugh.
Even People now says Abe Vigoda is dead, which sort of seals the deal. Happy travels, Mr. Vigoda, wherever you may be.
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