Following the news that character actor Danny Aiello died on Thursday night, friends and peers of the “Moonstruck” actor shared their remembrances via social media. Aiello — whose body of work included Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing,” “The Purple Rose of Cairo,” “Jacob’s Ladder,” “The Godfather Part II” and Madonna’s “Papa Don’t Preach” music video — was 86.
Aiello’s Academy Award-nominated performance as Salvatore “Sal” Frangione in Lee’s 1989 classic was most frequently mentioned; Lee himself led the litany of tributes to the accomplished actor on Instagram.
“We Made Cinema History Together With ‘DO THE RIGHT THING.’ May You Rest In PARADISE,” the caption reads.
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I’m 💜 Broken. Just Found Out My Brother DANNY AIELLO Made His Transition Last Night. Danny,We Made Cinema History Together With DO THE RIGHT THING. May You Rest In PARADISE.🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿
Cher took to Twitter to share her condolences, saying that making “Moonstruck” with Aiello was one of the happiest times of her life.
Mia Farrow — who worked with Aiello on “The Purple Rose of Cairo” — sent condolences and love to his family.
“Russian Doll” actor Natasha Lyonne shared her love for “Jacob’s Ladder.”
“Atypical” actor Michael Rapaport shared a sweet video on Twitter of himself and Aiello, calling the late actor a huge inspiration.
Billy Baldwin shared his tribute on both Twitter and Instagram, calling Aiello “one of the great raconteur storytellers of all time.”
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RIP #DannyAiello From the US Army to Greyhound labor rep to bouncer at The Improv to Hollywood stardom!! From Johnny Cammareri in Moonstruck to Sal in Do The Right Thing… one of the greatest films ever made. That smile, that laugh, that New York attitude. One of the great raconteur storytellers of all time… and trust me I’ve been around the best. They don’t make ‘em like this guy anymore people. What a talent… a true one of a kind. My condolences to Sandy and the whole family. Godspeed Danny Aiello. ♥️🙏🏽
Josh Gad thanked Aiello on social media for his iconic performances.
Kirk Acevedo (“Arrow”) shared a story about the first time he met Aiello.
“RIP my friend. So sad to see you go. Will miss our calls and your big hugs. #DannyAiello,” Jane Rosenthal, film producer and co-Founder, CEO and chairwoman of Tribeca Enterprises, tweeted.
“Point Break” actor Gloria Mann called Aiello a “great actor” and “kind soul.”
Aiello’s nephew, sports broadcaster Michael Kay, thanked everyone for their condolences on Twitter: “I would like to thank all of those sending their condolences on the passing of my uncle, Danny Aiello. He was a terrific man, self made, coming from nothing to be an Academy Award nominated actor. He loved his family dearly, adored his wife of 64 years, my Aunt Sandy.”
Deirdre O’Connor, the writer and director of Aiello’s last film, “One Moment,” also shared a statement following his death: Danny inspired ‘One Moment’s’ entire cast and crew with his professionalism, kindness, generosity and warmth. I am so deeply saddened that he will not be able to share in the completed film with us and I sincerely hope it will be the tribute that he deserves.”
Aiello’s Facebook page was updated with a statement following his death:
“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.”
Aiello is immediately survived by three children, Rick, Jaime and Stacey Aiello.