Danny Aiello

Danny AielloDaniel Louis “Danny” Aiello, Jr. (born June 20, 1933) is an American actor who has appeared in numerous motion pictures, including Once Upon a Time in America, Ruby, The Godfather: Part II, Hudson Hawk, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Moonstruck, Léon: The Professional, Two Days in the Valley, and Dinner Rush. He had a pivotal role in the 1989 Spike Lee film Do the Right Thing, earning a nomination for a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his portrayal of Sal, the pizzeria owner and also as Don Clericuzio in the miniseries Mario Puzo’s The Last Don.
Aiello broke into films in the early 1970s. One of his earliest roles came as a ballplayer in the 1973 baseball drama, Bang the Drum Slowly, with Robert DeNiro. Aiello had a walk-on as small-time hood Tony Rosato in The Godfather Part II (1974), ad-libbing the famous line “Michael Corleone says hello!” during a hit on a rival gangster (Michael V. Gazzo).
He was paired with DeNiro again for the 1984 Sergio Leone gangster epic, Danny AielloOnce Upon a Time in America, as a police chief whose name was also, “Aiello.” His many film appearances included three for director Woody Allen, who cast him in, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Broadway Danny Rose and Radio Days. He received considerable acclaim for playing a racist New York City cop in Fort Apache the Bronx (1981) with Paul Newman.
Although his characters have often been vulgar and violent, Aiello has also portrayed sensitive, kindly men with an earthy sense of humor. He gained recognition as the befuddled fiance of Cher opposite her Oscar-winning performance in Moonstruck (1987), and the actor made a comic appearance in drag for the Robert Altman fashion-industry film Pret-a-Porter. He also had sympathetic roles in Jacob’s Ladder and 29th Street.
He played nightclub owner and Lee Harvey Oswald assassin Jack Ruby in the 1992 biopic Ruby and a political bigshot with mob ties in City Hall, starring Al Pacino.
Aiello has a fine singing voice, which has been on display in films such as Hudson Hawk and Once Around. He has released several albums featuring a big-band sound. Aiello and EMI songwriter Hasan Johnson are releasing an album in 2009 of standards fused with rap entitled, “Bridges.”
In 1981 Danny Aiello won a Daytime Emmy award for his appearance in an ABC Afterschool Special called, A Danny Aiello oldFamily of Strangers.
He played the title character for the video of Madonna’s song, “Papa Don’t Preach.”
Aiello’s Broadway theatre credits include Gemini, The Floating Light Bulb, Hurlyburly, and The House of Blue Leaves.
Aiello lived in Ramsey, New Jersey, since the early 1980s. He later moved to Saddle River, New Jersey. He is the father of stuntman/actor Danny Aiello III and Rick Aiello.
During an interview with Sean Hannity, Aiello pointed out that he is a conservative and was raised Roman Catholic. He has also criticized the overuse of foul language in films and television series, as well as criticised movies and television shows featuring poor portrayals of Italian-Americans, especially, The Sopranos.
Aiello is the uncle of New York Yankees broadcaster Michael Kay