Foremost Hollywood actor, Abe Vigoda, who played a doomed Mafia soldier in famous movie, The Godfather, is dead.

Vigoda’s family told pressmen he died peacefully in his sleep. He was aged 94.

In the blockbuster movie, The Godfather, Abe Vigoda played Sal Tessio, an old friend of Marlon Brando’s Don Corleone, who plots to take over the family after the Don’s death by killing his son. The role made him recognisable to millions and led to many more roles, including as detective Phil Fish in the 1970s TV series, Barney Miller.

Before the Godfather films Vigoda had worked in relative obscurity in TV and on the New York theatre circuit.

Towards the end of his life, he often appeared on lists of living celebrities believed to have died and he played along with the hoaxes on TV chat show appearances.

Vigoda was married twice and is survived by a daughter from his first marriage, two grandchildren and a great-grandson.

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