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Danny Aiello Dies: Oscar-Nominated ‘Do The Right Thing’ & ‘Moonstruck’ Actor Was 86

By Keith Wilkinson

Danny Aiello — the Oscar-nominated character actor who featured in films like Do the Right ThingMoonstruck, and The Purple Rose of Cairo — has died at the age of 86.

Aiello died at a New Jersey medical facility while undergoing treatment for a sudden illness, TMZ reports. In addition to the initial issue, he was battling an infection related to his treatment.

The father of four had family visitors on Thursday night, and he passed away not long after they left for the evening.  Aiello’s known for his role in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing landed him a 1989 Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. In June of this year, Aiello and Lee reunited at a 30th-anniversary celebration of the film in Brooklyn.

AOL Daniel Louis Aiello Jr., a familiar face if not a brand name to many audiences, was also known for his roles in Moonstruck and The Godfather: Part II. He often played the part of the Italian tough guy, criminal or father. A late bloomer, he didn’t get his union card until he was in his 40s. Then his career stretched from the early 1970s until the present day.

IMDB. Aiello played opposite Robert De Niro in Once Upon a Time in America and in  Eddie Murphy’s Harlem Nights, and he worked extensively with Woody Allen in  The Purple Rose of Cairo and the play The Floating Light Bulb and won a Los Angeles Drama Critics’ Circle award for his role as a coked-up TV actor in an L.A. production of Hurly Burly. Aiello’s career spanned five decades, Aiello built a reputation for his portrayal of mob heavies, tough-talking New Yorkers, and flawed husbands.

Born in Manhattan, on June 20, 1933. to parents Daniel Louis Aiello, Sr. and Frances. He had five siblings. He studied at James Monroe High School. Aiello was raised in the Bronx, and he enlisted in the Army when he was 16. After that, he had various jobs around New York until breaking into acting with a role in Bang the Drum Slowly.

The actor married Sandy Cohen in 1955. The couple had four children: Jamie, Rick, Stacey, and stuntman/actor Danny Aiello III who died in 2010 after suffering from pancreatic cancer.

In 2014, Danny Aiello published his autobiography titled ‘I Only Know Who I Am When I Am Somebody Else: My Life on the Street, On the Stage, and in the Movies.’

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