Abe Vigoda, of 'Godfather' and 'Barney Miller' Fame, Dies at 94

by Antoinette Bueno 1:09 PM PST, January 26, 2016
Playing Abe Vigoda, of 'Godfather' and 'Barney Miller' Fame, Dies at 94

Abe Vigoda -- best known for his roles in 1972's The Godfather and the '70s TV series, Barney Miller -- died on Tuesday, ET can confirm. He was 94 years old.

The veteran actor's daughter, Carol Vigoda Fuchs, told The Associated Press that Vigoda died in his sleep at her home, of natural causes.

"This man was never sick," Fuchs said.

PHOTOS: Stars We've Lost in Recent Years

Vigoda appeared in an impressive number of films and television series throughout his long career, which began in 1947. He also starred in a number of Broadway productions, including 1967's Marat/Sade and 1972's Tough to Get Help.

His breakthrough role on the big screen came when he played mobster Salvatore Tessio in Francis Ford Coppola's classic, The Godfather. He also briefly appeared in its 1974 sequel, The Godfather: Part II.

But it's his portrayal of Detective Sgt. Phil Fish on the long-running Barney Miller that he will undoubtedly be best remembered for by fans. The popular show even had a spinoff based on his character, Fish, which aired from 1977 to 1978.

Later film roles included comedic parts in 1989's Look Who's Talking, 1990's Joe Versus the Volcano, and 1997's Good Burger.

WATCH: 'Harry Potter' Fans Mourn the Loss of Alan Rickman With the Most Beautiful Memorials

Interestingly enough, Vigoda gained popularity when multiple outlets mistakenly reported his death -- once in 1982, and another time in 1987. He poked fun of the reports during a memorable appearance on Late Night With David Letterman, in which he attempted to prove he's still alive.

"So, Abe, you're anything but dead!" Letterman joked.

The actor was married twice, most recently to Beatrice Shy for 24 years, until her death in 1992. Vigoda is survived by their daughter, Carol.