Actor Danny Aiello died at the age of 86 today. According to CNN, the Academy Award nominated actor's family released a statement that says, "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." TMZ reports that Danny was at a medical facility in New Jersey being treated for that illness when he developed an infection.
Aiello appeared in dozens of films but his most acclaimed role, the one that got him an Oscar nod, was as pizzeria owner "Sal" in Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing. Danny also portrayed "Johnny Cammareri" in Moonstruck opposite Cher, and "Tony Rosato" in The Godfather II. He was also Madonna's father in the music video for "Papa Don't Preach."
Cher tweeted about the death of her former co-star:
Aiello never studied acting, instead he relied on his real-life experiences to inform his roles, basing how he portrayed characters on people he knew.
Danny also had a singing career. He released several big band albums, including 2008's Live from Atlantic City.
He leaves behind his wife of 64 years and their three children.
Photo: Getty Images