Danny Aiello, 'Do the Right Thing' actor, dies at 86

By Annie Martin
Danny Aiello, an actor known for "The Godfather Part II," "Moonstruck" and "Do the Right Thing," died Thursday. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/39d38c9b625ad359803e7659475c95b7/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Danny Aiello, an actor known for "The Godfather Part II," "Moonstruck" and "Do the Right Thing," died Thursday. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Do the Right Thing star Danny Aiello has died at age 86.

Fox News reported Friday that Aiello died Thursday night.


Aiello's literary agent Jennifer De Chiara confirmed the actor's death to USA Today.

"The world has lost one of its greatest actors who also happened to be a wonderful human being," De Chiara said. "He will be missed."

TMZ said Aiello died at a medical facility in New Jersey. The actor was reportedly being treated for a sudden illness and suffered an infection related to his treatment.

"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," Aiello's rep said. "The family asks for privacy at this time. Service arrangements will be announced at a later date."

Aiello is survived by his wife, Sandy Cohen, and three children, Jamie, Rick and Stacy. The couple's son Danny Aiello III died in 2010.

Aiello launched his film career in the 1970s and had a walk-on role as Tony Rosato in The Godfather Part II (1974). In the '80s, he appeared in such films as Once Upon a Time in America, The Purple Rose of Cairo and Moonstruck.


Aiello was lauded for his role in Spike Lee's 1989 film Do the Right Thing, which depicts racial tensions in a Brooklyn, N.Y., neighborhood. Aiello was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of pizzeria owner Sal.

In more recent years, Aiello appeared in the films Reach Me and The Neighborhood. He was slated to appear in the movie The Black Caesar.

Aiello's Moonstruck co-star Cher paid tribute to the actor Friday on Twitter.

"Goodbye Dear #DannyAiello," she wrote. "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."

Notable deaths of 2019

Jerry Herman
Jerry Herman listens to remarks by U.S. President Barack Obama as the president and First Lady Michelle Obama host the 2010 Kennedy Center Honorees at a reception in the East Room of the White House on December 5, 2010. The Tony-award winning composer died on December 26, 2019, at the age of 88. File Pool Photo by Gary Fabiano/UPI | License Photo

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