danny aiello

Stars React to Actor Danny Aiello’s Passing


Since the tragic death of actor Danny Aiello on December 12, there has been an outpouring of love and condolences from his peers in Hollywood.


Aiello died in New Jersey at the age of 86 following a short illness, and the reverberations quickly swept across Hollywood. A tireless worker, Aiello began acting in films in the early 1970s and continued doing so until shortly before his passing. A native New Yorker and skilled character actor, Aiello made his film debut alongside Robert De Niro in 1973’s Bang the Drum Slowly. After that performance, Aiello appeared as Tony Rosato in The Godfather Part II before going on to land iconic roles in films such as Moonstruck, Do the Right Thing, and Leon: The Professional.


“I’m [heart] broken. Just found out my brother Danny Aiello made his transition last night,” Spike Lee, who directed Aiello in Do the Right Thing, wrote in one of several posts about the late actor that he shared to his Instagram. “Danny, We made cinema history together with Do the Right Thing. May you rest in paradise.”


Also sending her love was Cher, with whom Aiello starred in Moonstruck. “Danny was a Great Actor, but a genius comedic actor,” Cher wrote on Twitter. “We laughed so much making #Moonstruck. It was one of the happiest times in my life, [and] he was apart of that happy time. Goodbye #JohnnyCammareri, [kisses], Loretta.”


Actor Billy Baldwin, who co-starred with Aiello in The Preppie Murder, wrote a concise and touching biography for Aiello in his own Instagram tribute, writing, “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.”



Many other stars were also devastated by the loss of Aiello, with everyone from Bette Midler to Charlize Theron to Samuel L. Jackson taking to social media to to express their sadness and talk about how his work inspired them.


Aiello may be gone, but he is not forgotten. He lives on through his work, and you can see two of his most memorable performances in Moonstruck and Radio Days this week on THIS. Check our schedule here for more information.


Image courtesy of MGM