Abe Vigoda has died at the age of 94

The character actor known as Fish on 'Barney Miller' kept making us laugh for decades.

Associated Press

Those bushy eyebrows, that hangdog expression. There was never a character actor quite like Abe Vigoda, one of the most unique and identifiable faces in television history. The New York actor reached audiences across generations, appearing in everything from The Godfather to sketches with Conan O'Brien on Late Night.

Of course, 1970s TV lovers will forever remember him as Fish on Barney Miller. Before that, in 1969 and 1970, the son of Russian Jewish immigrants appeared on a handful of Dark Shadows episodes. Fish would later get his own spin-off, simply titled Fish, in 1977. The sitcom ran for two seasons. His ability to poke fun of himself led to such great comedy, like the constant reference to his hemorrhoids on Barney Miller.

Oddly, his death was first mistakenly reported in 1982 by People magazine. The self-deprecating actor took it with a laugh, subsequently posing inside a coffin for Variety. Yet, the false demise reports did not end there, as a local news broadcast in New Jersey claimed he was dead again in 1987. This would become a running gag across his guest appearances late in his career, all the way up to the final episode of Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and later became an Internet meme.

Earlier today, Vigoda passed away in his sleep at home in New Jersey. He was 94 years old. We will miss the man.

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