Tuesday, April 16, 2024

RIP Danny Aiello, the Great Actor, Loved by Everyone, Known for “Do the Right Thing,” “Moonstruck,” “The Professional”


Danny Aiello was like the New York actor. He was a hit here before he was a hit anywhere. Everyone in New York knew him from the movies and loved him. He was our guy. And he responded that way, too. He loved everyone he met. He became friends with everyone, on a first name basis. You could tell he loved life, and appreciated his fame. He died at age 86 yesterday, and there’s an outpouring of love for him all over social media.

I could say I knew him, but he knew everyone and everyone’s names. Even if he hadn’t seen you in a while, Danny acted like you were long lost friends. He was the kind of person who made you feel good for his success.

And that success: “Godfather II.” “Fort Apache: The Bronx.” Two Woody Allen movies, “Purple Rose of Cairo,” “Radio Days.” “Moonstruck.” And then “Do the Right Thing” brought him the celebrity, the Oscar nomination, all the accolades. He was off and running. Wherever he went people wanted to hug him. That’s what you did before everyone started asking for a picture. In Elaine’s, if he stopped by, they’d be talking about it for days. Danny Aiello was here.

Thanks, Danny. It was great knowing you. The funny part now will be people going back to the old movies, and saying, Look, it’s Danny Aiello. He’s in every movie. It seemed like that.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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