Character actor Jon Polito, best known for his roles in Coen Brothers films, including “The Big Lebowski” and “Miller’s Crossing,” died of cancer on Thursday at City of Hope Hospital in Los Angeles. He was 65.
His managers made the announcement on Friday morning after John McNaughton, his friend and a film director, first shared the news on Facebook. “Very sad to learn that my dear friend and collaborator, Jon Polito, has passed away,” McNaughton wrote.
“He appeared in over 100 films, countless TV episodes, and on Broadway,” he added. “Jon was a born actor and will be deeply missed by his legion of friends, fans, family, and of course his long time partner, Darryl Armbruster, to whom I send my condolences. R.I.P. old pal.”
According to TMZ, the actor died after being taken off life support. He reportedly fell into to a coma on Sunday and was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2010. TMZ also reports that he suffered from arthritis and an infection from a recent surgery.
Born on Dec. 29, 1950, Polito studied acting at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He made his TV debut in the 1981 NBC miniseries “The Gangster Chronicles,” playing Thomas “Three Finger Brown” Lucchese, after first breaking out on stage.
The actor, who has nearly 220 credits on IMDb, portrayed private eye Da Fino in “The Big Lebowski” (1998), Italian gangster Johnny Caspar in “Miller’s Crossing,” (1990), and the studio owner’s right-hand man Lou Breeze in “Barton Fink” (1991). He most recently appeared in “Gangster Squad” and “Locker 13,” and had just nabbed a role in the dramedy “The Maestro.”
He was an original cast member on the NBC crime drama “Homicide: Life on the Street,” and appeared in “Seinfeld” (as the super who wanted to evict Newman), “Modern Family,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” and “Major Crimes.”
Polito also appeared on Broadway in “American Buffalo” (1977), “Curse of the Aching Heart” (1982), “Total Abandon” (1983), and a revival of “Death of a Salesman” (1984).
He is survived by his husband, Darryl Armbruster.
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