NEW YORK (AP) — Famously long rumored to be dead, beloved character actor Abe Vigoda died for real in January at age 94. But the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences didn’t seem to notice.
In any case, it omitted Vigoda from the “In Memoriam” package on Sunday’s Oscarcast, and his daughter is incensed.
“Abe’s family feels disappointed and cheated by the Academy,” said Carol Vigoda Fuchs on Monday. “Abe gave his life and heart to acting, and a simple tribute in recognition of his devotion was overlooked.”
Vigoda, of course, was unforgettable in “The Godfather” for his performance as Salvatore “Sal” Tessio, the doomed Mafia soldier.
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So Fuchs wonders why the Academy forgot him, even as it paid tribute to Alex Rocco, seen in the same 1972 film as Las Vegas casino owner Moe Green. Rocco, who died last July at age 79, was among the four dozen industry figures honored in the segment.
Although Tessio is likely Vigoda’s best-known role, his stardom wasn’t limited to “The Godfather.” He also played over-the-hill detective Phil Fish in the 1970s TV comedy “Barney Miller” and its spinoff, “Fish.”
Did the Academy pass the buck to the Emmys to honor Vigoda as a TV star when it airs its awards show this fall?
“I’m sure the Emmys will do it,” said Fuchs. “But that’s still no excuse. The Academy made a mistake. It’s an injustice.”
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences did not immediately respond to a request for comment.