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Abe Vigoda dead; 'Barney Miller' and 'Godfather' actor was 94

Abe Vigoda, known for his roles on

Abe Vigoda, known for his roles on "Barney Miller" and "The Godfather," has died at age 94. Pictured: Vigoda attends the 54th Annual New York Emmy Awards at the Marriott Marquis Times Square in Manhattan on April 3, 2011. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Abe Vigoda passed away in his sleep Tuesday morning, his daughter Carol Vigoda Fuchs told the Associated Press.

The character actor, best known for his role as Sal Tessio in "The Godfather" and for his work on the television series "Barney Miller," was 94. He reportedly died at home in New Jersey.

Born in New York City, Vigoda spent the mid-1970s on the small screen as Detective Phil Fish on the NYC-based sitcom “Barney Miller.” The short-lived spin-off “Fish” allowed audiences to see the old-school cop at home with his wife and their racially and ethnically diverse group of foster children.

Celebrities reacted quickly to the news Tuesday. Al Roker tweeted, "Sad news. Abe Vigoda, who played Det. Fish Barney Miller, was 94. Running gag on Letterman: 'I'm not dead.'" It was a nod to the many celebrity death hoaxes Vigoda endured in his later years. 

Actor Griffin Dunne tweeted, "#RIPAbeVigoda speechless." 

In addition to a resume filled with numerous film and television appearances -- from "Joe Versus the Volcano" (starring Tom Hanks) to "Murder She Wrote" and "As the World Turns" -- Vigoda's stage appearances, Variety reports, included a mid-1980s Broadway revival of "Arsenic and Old Lace."


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