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R.I.P. Danny Aiello, Do the Right Thing actor dies at 86

on December 13, 2019, 10:06am

Danny Aiello, the Academy Award-nominated actor known for roles in Do the Right Thing, Once Upon a Time in America, and Moonstruck, has died at the age of 86.

TMZ reports that Aiello passed away Thursday from an undisclosed illness.

Aiello is perhaps best known for his role in Spike Lee’s 1989 film Do the Right Thing. His performance as Sal Frangione, the surly owner of an Italian pizzeria in a racially-charged Brooklyn neighborhood, earned wide-spread critical acclaim, including an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

He was also widely praised for his work in 1981’s Fort Apache, The Bronx opposite Paul Newman, and 1984’s Once Upon a Time in America alongside Robert De Niro. He appeared in Woody Allen’s 1985 film The Purple Rose of Cairo, and starred opposite Cher in 1987’s Moonstruck. He even had a small role in The Godfather Part II as Tony Rostao, famously ad-libbing the line “Michael Corleone says hello!” during a hit on rival gangster Frank Pentangeli.

Music fans may also recognize Aiello from his role as the father in Madonna’s music video for “Papa Don’t Preach”.

Later in his career, Aiello appeared in films including Brooklyn Lobster and Lucky Number Slevin.

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