Danny Aiello Dies; Veteran Actor Was 86

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Very sad news today from the world of entertainment:

Danny Aiello, the Oscar-nominated actor best known for movie roles in Do the Right Thing and Moonstruck, has died, multiple outletes have confirmed.

He was 86 years old.

Danny Aiello

Aiello passed away on Thursday night at a medical facility in New Jersey after having been treated for a sudden illness and suffering an infection related to his treatmen, TMZ reports.

A native of New York, Aiello broke into entertainment industry in the early 1970s by nabbing a small role in the Robert De Niro baseball drama, Bang the Drum Slowly.

He followed it up by portraying Tony Rosato in The Godfather: Part II, in which he delivered the famous line, Michael Corleone says hello!

Aiello later received an Academy AWards nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the classic 1989 Spike Lee film Do the Right Thing.

In this film, he played the character of Salvatore “Sal” Fragione, the owner of a pizzeria in Brooklyn.


Among other notable Aiello roles?

  • Fort Apache the Bronx with Paul Newman.
  • Once Upon a Time in America.
  • The Purple Rose of Cairo.
  • Moonstruck opposite Cher.

In response to Aiello's passing, Cher has said the following:

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.

Goodbye #JohnnyCammareri.

cher tweet

Outside of Hollywood, Aiello was also a stage actor, performing in numerous Broadway plays such as Gemini, The Floating Light Bulb and The House of Blue Leaves.

He also acted in television shows including Lady Blue and The Last Don.

TMZ, meanwhile, has since updated its original article to include this statement from Aiello's family:

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.


Aiello is survived by three children and his wife Sandy, to whom he was married since 1955.

We send his loved ones our condolences.

May Danny Aiello rest in peace.

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