Abe Vigoda, best known for his work in Barney Miller and The Godfather, passed away yesterday. He was 94 years old.
While he was recognizable character actor throughout his long career, at a certain point in his life, Abe Vigoda was most famous simply for being Abe Vigoda. He became a cult figure, making appearances on late night television with David Letterman and Conan O’Brien.
In the 1988 Letterman clip below, Vigoda laughs at the false reports of his own death.
The false reports of Vigoda’s death turned him into a sort of irreverent comic figure (getting more irreverent and more comic as the actor got older), and it eventually spawned a few internet memes at various websites.
Someone even started the website isabevigodadead.com, which up until yesterday simply said “No.”
Vigoda was beloved, to be sure, so much so that he would pop up in unexpected places and provide joy simply from his unexpected presence.
Case in point, here he is at a Phish show on Halloween in 2013.
According to his daughter Carol Vigoda Fuchs, Abe passed away peacefully in his sleep due to old age.
“This man was never sick,” Fuchs said.
Here’s a clip of Conan O’Brien and Andy Richter paying tribute to Abe Vigoda yesterday for his countless appearances on their NBC Late Night show.
Classic Abe Vigoda.[via Variety, ABC]