×

Jon Polito, Actor in Coen Brothers Films, Dies at 65

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.

Hollywood Stars and Icons Lost in 2016

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • T.J. Dillashaw, right, kicks Cody Garbrandt

    Disney Plans UFC Broadcast for FX

    UFC matches will return to FX  – but not on a permanent basis. ESPN has been showing preliminary bouts to UFC pay-per-view events for the last while on ESPN and ESPN2, and then showing the main card on its ESPN+ subscription video service. In September, the early lineup will air on FX, which the UFC [...]

  • George RR Martin

    George R.R. Martin Says HBO's 'Game of Thrones' Ending Won't Influence Future Novels

    Geroge R.R. Martin is sticking to his original plan when it comes to the future of “Game of Thrones.” In an interview with The Observer, Martin claimed that HBO’s controversial ending for the series would have no affect on the endings of the last two novels. “No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t change anything at all,” [...]

  • Listen: 'Pennyworth' Producer Talks Delving into

    Listen: 'Pennyworth' Executive Producer Talks Delving into Alfred's Backstory

    Bruno Heller may have served as an executive producer on the Batman-inspired series “Gotham” for the past five years, but it’s actually real-life people (not superheroes) that intrigue the producer the most. It’s for that exact reason that Heller’s newest series finds him exploring the origin stories of Batman’s butler Alfred in the Epix drama [...]

  • "Trust Issues" - Dylan and Lizzie

    'Instinct' Canceled After Two Seasons

    CBS has canceled “Instinct” after two seasons. Series creator Michael Rauch announced the cancellation Friday on Twitter, writing, “I’m very sad to relay the news that @instinctcbs won’t be renewed for a 3rd season. We will double up this Sunday and our season/series finale will be Aug 25.” Rauch also thanked series stars Alan Cumming [...]

  • Maisel Day

    My Mostly OK Maisel Day (Column)

    When Amazon announced its first-ever Maisel Day, I was intrigued. For one day, Aug. 15, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” fans and Angelenos (fangelenos?) could hit up various restaurants, theaters and retailers throughout Los Angeles for special deals, all at 1959 prices. Among the gems: $2.50 makeovers, $0.99 pastrami sandwiches and $0.30 for a gallon of [...]

  • Nordisk Film & TV Fond Announces

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond Backs Joachim Trier, Ole Bornedal, Yellow Bird

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond has announced three features, two series and a documentary set to receive $1.4m in financing, as well as distribution, dubbing and cultural initiative support recipients. Doing so, it highlights some of the key titles moving forward in the Nordic region. Already backed by the Danish Film Institute’s largest ever grant [...]

  • TV News Roundup: 'Silicon Valley' Final

    TV News Roundup: 'Silicon Valley's' Final Season Sets October Premiere Date

    In today’s roundup, “Silicon Valley” returns to HBO on Oct. 27 and Quibi greenlights a new cooking competition show “Dismantled.” DATES The fifth season of Netflix‘s “Peaky Blinders” will premiere on the streamer Oct. 4. The newest season will continue to follow one gangster family in the lawless streets of Birmingham, UK during the midst [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content