Do the Right Thing star Danny Aiello dies at 86

Danny Aiello was popularly known for his blue-collar characters in several popular movies, including Fort Apache the Bronx and Moonstruck

Veteran actor Danny Aiello, who received an Oscar nomination for his supporting role as pizza joint owner Sal in Spike Lee's 1989 movie Do the Right Thing, has died in a New Jersey hospital on Thursday night following a short illness. He was 86.

Born in New York City as the fifth child of Frances and Daniel Louis Aiello, Moonstruck star was very active in the entertainment industry since the 70s. The actor was being treated at the medical facility following a brief illness. During the treatment, he "suffered from an infection" and it caused his death, reported TMZ citing his family members.

Danny Aiello
Veteran actor Danny Aiello has passed away. Creative Commons/Danny_Aiello_&_Teddy_Atlas

"It is with profound sorrow to report that Danny Aiello, beloved husband, father, grandfather, actor and musician passed away last night after a brief illness. The family asks for privacy at this time. Service arrangements will be announced at a later date," his literary agent Jennifer De Chiara said in a statement to BBC.

Career in Hollywood

Aiello entered the world of entertainment through Robert De Niro's 1973 film Bang the Drum Slowly. In the baseball drama, he played the role of a ballplayer. Then he appeared in the 1974 film The Godfather; Part II in which he played Tony Rosato and delivered the popular line, "Michael Corleone says hello!"

Some of his screen-stealing works of 1980s were Defiance with Jan Michael Vincent in 1980, 1981 film Fort Apache, The Bronx with Paul Newman, Sergio Leone's 1984 film Once Upon a Time in America and Woody Allen's movies The Purple Rose of Cairo and Radio Days.


During his acting career, he received several awards for his well-acclaimed role as pizza parlour owner Sal in Do the Right Thing. It includes BSFC Award for Best Supporting Actor, LAFCA Award for Best Supporting Actor, CFCA Award for Best Supporting Actor. He also received recognition for his appearance in the ABC Afterschool Special program and 1994 American satirical comedy drama film Prêt-à-Porter.

The actor is survived by his wife Sandy, whom he married in 1955, and their three children. Popular celebrities, including Michael Rapaport, Samuel Leroy Jackson and Charlize Theron, tweeted their final goodbye to the Aiello. Check out the tweets below: