Danny Aiello (born June 20, 1933 in Brooklyn, New York) is an Italian American actor who has starred in (amongst others), Once Upon a Time in America, Ruby, The Godfather: Part II, Hudson Hawk, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Moonstruck, Do The Right Thing (Oscar nomination), LĂ©on: The Professional, Two Days in the Valley and played the title character in the video for Madonna's Papa Don't Preach. Although his characters are often crass, vulgar, and violent, Aiello has also portrayed sensitive, kindly men with an earthy sense of humor, for example his role in Jacob's Ladder. Aiello once served as a union representative for Greyhound busworkers. Aiello is also a musician who has released several CDs of jazz music.
He has been quoted as saying, "The first time I put on a dress and a wig and they took a polaroid of me, I wanted to throw up. Except I saw a little bit of beauty in that I looked like my mother."
Aiello was a card-carrying Democrat until the Lewinsky scandal in 1998, when he switched his support to the Republican Party. He has also criticized swearing in films and television series featuring Italian Americans, especially "The Sopranos".