Danny Aiello, The Godfather: Part II and Do the Right Thing Actor, Dies at 86

It's a sad day in entertainment, as the world says goodbye to beloved character actor Danny Aiello. TMZ broke the news of Aiello's death on Friday morning, reporting that the actor passed away the night before. He was being treated for a sudden illness in a medical facility in New Jersey when he suffered an infection related to the treatment. His family visited him on Thursday evening and he died shortly after they left. Aiello is survived by his wife, Sandy, and four children.

Aiello was born in 1933 and began acting 40 years later, his first role coming in the Robert De Niro baseball drama, Bang the Drum Slowly. One of his most memorable parts came in his second film, The Godfather: Part II. Aiello played Tony Rosato in the movie and delivered the popular line, "Michael Corleone says hello!"

The actor went on to appear in a number of movies and shows over the years, including Bloodbrothers, Hooch, Defiance, Once Upon a Time in America, The Stuff, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Jacob's Ladder, Leon: The Professional, and Hudson Hawk.

Aiello's most acclaimed and popular role came in Spike Lee's beloved drama, Do the Right Thing, in 1989. Aiello played Sal, owner of Sal's Pizzeria, and one of the main characters in the film. He went on to be nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the Academy Awards that year, the first and only nomination of his career. The Supporting Actor race was incredibly crowded that year, with Denzel Washington ultimately taking home the prize for his role in Glory. Washington beat out Aiello, Dan Aykroyd, Marlon Brando, and Martin Landau.


Aiello has continued working in recent years, appearing in two films this past year: Making a Deal With the Devil and The Last Big Save. He's set to appear in the upcoming movie One Moment.