Something happened after Abe Vigoda reached retirement age. The Internet happened. And the Internet loves Abe Vigoda, who turned 94 in February.
The actor is best known for playing Det. Phil Fish on TV’s “Barney Miller” in the 1970s as well as Sal Tessio in “The Godfather.” In the 1980s, People magazine mistakenly reported his death, and his status as alive or dead has turned into a pop culture joke over the years, perpetuated by the actor himself on late-night talk shows with David Letterman and Conan O'Brien.
One recent post on the death of singer Joe Cocker had an image of Vigoda with the phrase, “What would I do if you sang out of tune? Probably outlive you.”
And Vigoda stars as the thumbnail along with fellow 94-year-old Maureen O'Hara and 90-year-old Doris Day in our own homage to actors who’ve ventured into really golden years: Still with us: Celebrities 85 and older.
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I have Outlook meeting reminders set for whenever anyone in the gallery celebrates a birthday.
Recent birthdays in that gallery have included James Hong, who turned 86 on Feb. 22, Sidney Poitier, who turned 88 on Feb. 20, George Kennedy, who turned 90 on Feb. 18, Hal Holbrook, who turned 90 on Feb. 17, Chuck Yeager, who turned 92 on Feb. 13, Robert Wagner, who turned 85 on Feb. 10, Zsa Zsa Gabor, who turned 98 on Feb. 6, Patrick MacNee, who turned 93 on Feb. 6 and Carol Channing, who turned 94 on Jan. 31.
Betty White, who starred with Vigoda in a memorable Super Bowl commercial in 2010, turned 93 on Jan. 17.
Hopefully Vigoda remains the thumbnail for a long time to come. I’ve already resaved the meeting reminder in Outlook for Feb. 24, 2016.