Actor Danny Aiello, best known for roles in movies such as Do the Right Thing and The Godfather Part 2, passed away on Thursday night at the age of 86, according to a spokesperson for the family.
Aiello reportedly died after a brief illness. He was rushed to a hospital in New Jersey after falling ill and died at the hospital.
His family released a statement confirming his death:
“It is with profound sorrow to report that Danny Aiello, beloved husband, father, grandfather, actor, and musician passed away last night after a brief illness. The family asks for privacy at this time. Service arrangements will be announced at a later date.”
Spike Lee posted a tribute on Instagram.
Other stars who have paid tribute on Twitter include Samuel L. Jackson, Cher, and Charlize Theron.
Shoutout to Sal’s Pizzeria for all those years of dope slices from Mr Senor Love Daddy! RIP Danny Aiello!!!
— Samuel L. Jackson (@SamuelLJackson) December 13, 2019
Goodbye Dear #DannyAiello 💔
Danny was a Great Actor, But a
Genius Comedic Actor.We Laughed so much. Making #Moonstruck ..It was one of the happiest times in my life,& He Was apart of that Happy time.
— Cher (@cher) December 13, 2019
Such sad news to wake up to this morning. One of my first jobs ever in Hollywood was with Danny Aiello and he was everything you could’ve imagined – funny, gracious, kind, and a true legend of his craft. You will be missed, my friend ❤️
— Charlize Theron (@CharlizeAfrica) December 13, 2019
Rest In Peace my friend.
We lost a great actor today,
BUT more importantly we lost
a great person!
First day I met Danny he took me under his wing gave me advice on the business and life all the while driving me home in his Cadillac.
You’ll be missed!#DannyAiello🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/UsaFQQsfsx
— kirk acevedo (@kirkacevedo) December 13, 2019
— MichaelRapaport (@MichaelRapaport) December 13, 2019
Danny Aiello bio
Danny Aiello was an actor and producer best known for his role in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing and Godfather Part 2.
He was often cast in roles portraying violent Italian-American mobsters.
His breakout came in 1973 when he appeared in Bang the Drum Slowly alongside Robert De Niro. He played the role of the mobster Tony Rosato in The Godfather Part 2 and Salvatore “Sal” Frangione in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing.
His film credits also include The Front and Moonstruck. He starred in Moonstruck as Johnny Cammareri alongside Cher as Loretta Castorini.
He is also known for roles in movies such as Once Upon A Time in America, Hudson Hawk, and Harlem Nights.
Aiello appeared in TV shows such as Dinner Rush and The Last Don in which he played Don Domenico Clericuzio.
Aiello was also a musician. He released several albums, including I Just Wanted to Hear The Words (2004) and My Christmas Song for You (2010).
He appeared as Madonna’s father in her 1986 music video, Papa Don’t Preach.
Aiello received several awards, accolades, and nominations. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Sal in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing.
Aiello was born in New York City in June 1933. He and his siblings were raised in Manhattan by their single mother.
He dropped out of school after eighth grade and before his acting career took off he worked as a shoe shiner and newspaper boy. He also worked as a bouncer at a comedy club in New York and later as a bus driver.
He is survived by his wife Sandy Cohen and three children. His son, Danny Aiello III, died of pancreatic cancer in 2010.