Monday, December 26, 2005

 

Great Character Actor Vincent Schiavelli Dies

How many times have we said, "I don't remember his name, but I know that face. He's been in lots of movies. If you saw him, you'd know who I was talking about." Character actors often rely on a unique looking face or a quirky personality to stand out in a film or TV show. Vincent Schiavelli, who died today at age 57, was one of the best character actors working. His look was often described as "hangdog," and when he was in a film, you didn't forget it. Schiavelli, who studied his craft at NYU, often worked with director Milos Forman, for whom he acted in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Amadeus, Valmont, The People vs. Larry Flynt and Man on the Moon. He had a rip-roaring turn in Ghost as a furious spirit, and appeared as Latka's comrade in the long-running TV series Taxi. His other films included Ron Howard's Night Shift, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Batman Returns and Tomorrow Never Dies. In 1997, Vanity Fair named Schiavelli as one of the best character actors in America. I agree. When he wasn't acting, he was writing award-winning culinary articles and three cookbooks. His presence will be missed, even if you didn't know his name.

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