Actor Danny Aiello Is Dead at 86


The Oscar-nominated actor Danny Aiello, known for roles "Moonstruck," "Do The Right Thing" and "The Godfather Part II,"  died Thursday night at the age of 86.

The veteran actor is probably best known for his role as pizza parlor owner Sal in the 1989 Spike lee film "Do The Right Thing", which earned him an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor. The movie follows a young black man named Mookie (Lee) who works as a delivery man for Sal's Italian-owned pizza joint in Brooklyn's Bed-Stuy neighborhood. Aiello also appeared in Francis Ford Coppola's 1974 movie "The Godfather Part II" as Tony Rosato, in the follow-up to the award-winning "The Godfather."

His other notable roles included 1987's "Moonstruck" and 1994's "Léon: The Professional." Recently, he had a role in "Making a Deal with the Devil" this year. And he played Madonna's father in her 1986 video, "Papa Don't Preach."

He has more than 100 acting credits, including his final roles in the upcoming titles "The Italy Boys," "The Black Caesar," "Hereafter Musical," and "One Moment." The actor also wrote a memoir about his career in 2014 titled "I Only Know Who I Am When I Am Somebody Else." He talked about working on "Do The Right Thing." "I got nominated for an Academy Award on ‘Do the Right Thing,’ but I must tell you when doing it I thought it was a piece of (excrement)," Aiello said. "Later, I thought differently about it because he then explained to me what he had in mind, I’m talking about Spike. Spike apparently had put across what we wanted to put across. He wanted a political feel to it, that’s what he did, he wanted it as a fable.”

Aiello died in a medical facility in New Jersey where he was being treated for a sudden illness brought on by an infection. He passed shortly after his family was there visiting.

RIp Danny Aiello.