This time it’s not a hoax. Via the New York Daily News:
The long-time television fixture’s daughter, Carol Vigoda Fuchs, told the Associated Press her father passed away peacefully in his sleep while staying at her Woodland Park, New Jersey, home. Vigoda made his mark on the small screen playing the weary and bladder-challenged Sgt. Phil Fish on “Barney Miller” — and on the big screen playing double-crossing gangster Tessio in “The Godfather.”
But for decades Vigoda was best known for not being dead. Legend has it rumors of Vigoda’s demise began way back in the 1980s when a producer declared “I need an Abe Vigoda type actor,” not realizing the man was still alive. It was actually a People magazine piece in 1982 that referred to the “late” Abe Vigoda that got the rumor rolling.
Vigoda lived on the Upper East Side and was often seen eating breakfast at Lenny’s on First Avenue. He waved sweetly at me once when he saw that I’d recognized him.