Abe Vigoda (born Abraham Charles Vigodah on February 24, 1921, in New York City) is an American movie and television actor. Born to a Jewish-Mexican father and an Italian mother, Vigoda gained fame through his supporting character roles, notably as mobster Sal Tessio in the 1972 movie The Godfather. He later reprised the role of Tessio in The Godfather: The Game in 2006. He later played Detective Sgt. Fish on the television series Barney Miller and its spinoff Fish. Before Barney Miller, he made a few appearances on the ABC-TV soap Dark Shadows.
He has been mentioned in popular works by artists such as the Beastie Boys. He makes regular appearances as himself on the television show Late Night with Conan O'Brien.
In 1982, Vigoda enjoyed a little extra publicity when People magazine erroneously declared him dead. Vigoda took the error with good humor, posing for a photograph showing him sitting up in a coffin, holding the magazine in question. Since then his erroneous death has remained a running joke for Vigoda. This joke also made its way on to the Family Guy episode "The Kiss Seen Around the World."
In 1999 Vigoda experienced a potentially life-threatening situation. While he was a passenger aboard American Airlines Flight 160 from San Diego to New York, the plane experienced a burst compressed air line in the passenger cabin. Oxygen masks were deployed, and the plane made an emergency descent and landing in Palm Springs. Vigoda and five other passengers were listed as "slightly injured."
Along this same theme, abevigoda.com provides a presumably real-time account of whether Abe Vigoda is alive or dead. The page suffered under heavy traffic when a Firefox extension was written to constantly poll it for Vigoda's current status.