The Abe Vigoda Phenomenon


This week, I’ve been watching the first season of “Barney Miller” on DVD. Although a bit dated at times, it features excellent work from the underrated Gregory Sierra, the late Jack Soo, and of course the great Abe Vigoda. The weird thing is that half of Abe’s bits on the show are about how he’s so old and has one foot in the grave.

This was 30 years ago.

And yet, according to—which posts hourly updates—Abe Vigoda lives on. His IMDB page even has a credit in 2005; he appeared on “The Third Annual TV Land Awards.”

Now, I have no problem with this. I do not wish death upon Abe Vigoda, by any means. I just think it’s weird. What is Abe taking to keep himself alive? Is he a vampire, or some other sort of undead? I hate to think of Abe having to suck the blood of younger, less talented actors to stay alive. Wait a minute…I must now go and write that screenplay…I’m going to call it Feeding Abe Vigoda. It will show Abe being cast in an “O.C.”-style primetime soap with a bunch of twentysomethings, who one by one begin to mysteriously disappear. Look for it in theaters in 2007.

In the meantime, here are a few Abe Vigoda factoids:

• For a period in the 80s, Abe was widely believed to be dead. And I mean more so than now; a poorly fact-checked People article had referred to him as “the late Abe Vigoda.” Apparently this led to a rising demand in show business for “Abe Vigoda-type” actors, while Abe himself became ironically underemployed.

• Abe was considered for the part of the monster in Young Frankenstein. It’s hard to imagine anyone topping Peter Boyle’s performance, but still, I’d like to have seen Abe’s version of “Puttin’ on the Ritz.”

• According to, Abe is straight. Just in case you were wondering.

• According to the ad on Google, eBay is offering “Great deals on Abe Vigoda.” Word to the wise: Make sure it’s the genuine item before closing the deal.

5 Responses to “The Abe Vigoda Phenomenon”

  1. Willem Says:

    Who wouldn’t live to be 150 being named Abe Vigoda? If I’m still alive after his death, I’m changing my name to Abe Vigoda. And then I’ll go about town complaining that it’s just like the 80s and everyone thinks I’m dead, but I’m not, I’m not! Send those residual checks to me, Abe Vigoda!

    Oh, and those Google ads were not lying. You might not be able to buy the honest Abe (sorry), but you can on eBay buy:

    One “ink signature with printed quotation” (and a certificate of authenticity). The quote is, “I was reported at one time to be dead. Some people still think I’m dead.” $8.

    Two Barney Miller autographed pictures (Abe with Hal Linden, both actors’ signatures, slightly different poses). $49.99 each.

    One “hand signed” press kit for “Jury Duty”: 98 cents.

    Various and sundry VHS movies starring Abe, including “Vasectomy: A Delicate Matter”

  2. bill Says:

    I’m going to buy that signature with the quote. I’m going to Buy It Now.

  3. Jordon Curney Says:

    I really like the theme you are using, I have a WordPress blog too, and I would like to use this theme. Would you mind telling me what the name of it is?

  4. duane moody Says:

    We lost a great man today

  5. The Philter » Blog Archive » End of Another Era Says:

    […] try to mine any more material out of the man, I will simply refer you to my previous Vigoda posts here, here, and […]

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