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Danny Aiello, rest in peace

Madonna & Danny in the "Papa Don't Preach" video
Madonna & Danny in the “Papa Don’t Preach” video

The great Danny Aiello has died at age 86. The news was confirmed by his literary agent who told USA Today, “The world has lost one of its greatest actors who also happened to be a wonderful human being.” Born in Manhattan in 1933, Aiello was a quintessential New York character actor, who earned a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his role as Sal in Spike Lee’s 1989 film Do the Right Thing. He was also in Moonstruck, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Harlem Knights, The Godfather Part II, Once Upon a Time in America, Hudson Hawk, and more. He also played Madonna’s papa in the “Papa Don’t Preach” video and actually released an answer record to it, “Papa Wants the Best for You.”

Danny’s Moonstruck costar Cher wrote on Twitter, “Danny was a Great Actor, But a Genius Comedic Actor.We Laughed so much. Making #Moonstruck ..It was one of the happiest times in my life,& He Was apart of that Happy time.” Spike Lee paid tribute on Instagram, with a picture of a Sal’s Pizza box and t-shirt from Do the Right Thing. Check that out, along with the “Papa Don’t Preach” and “Papa Wants the Best for You” videos, and clips from other Aiello movies, below.

Rest in peace, Danny.

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