Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Spike Lee ‘Heart Broken’ Over Death of ‘Do the Right Thing’ Star Danny Aiello

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Actor Danny Aiello speaks to an audience before he signs copies of his book “I Only Know Who I Am When I Am Somebody Else” at Barnes & Noble 82nd Street on October 24, 2014 in New York City.
(Source: Mike Coppola/Getty Images North America)

*Spike Lee took to social media on Friday to pay tribute to Danny Aiello, who died Thursday night after a brief illness. He was 86.

The actor’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.”

The New York native was best known for his role as Sal in Lee’s “Do the Right Thing,” and starring opposite Cher in the cinematic hit “Moonstruck.” His performance in “Do the Right Thing” earned Aiello Oscar and Golden Globe nominations in the best supporting actor categories.

Lee remembered Aiello in a series of Instagram posts on Friday. “I’m Heart Broken,” he wrote (see post below). “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.”

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Cher took to Twitter to pay tribute to her late co-star. “Goodbye Dear #DannyAiello. Danny was a Great Actor, But a Genius Comedic Actor. We laughed so much making #Moonstruck,” she wrote. “It was one of the happiest times in my life.”

Actress Mia Farrow — who worked with Aiello on “The Purple Rose of Cairo” — also sent condolences via Twitter. “So very sad to hear that Danny Aiello has died. He was a superb actor and a lovely person. It was a joy and an honor to work with him (in Broadway Danny Rose) Condolences and love to his family,” she wrote.

Billy Baldwin shared a tribute on both Twitter and Instagram, calling Aiello “one of the great raconteur storytellers of all time.”

Aiello’s nephew, sports broadcaster Michael Kay, thanked everyone for the love and support 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.”

Aiello is survived by three children, Rick, Jaime and Stacey Aiello.

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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