Daniel Louis Aiello Jr. (/aɪˈɛloʊ/; June 20, 1933 – December 12, 2019) was an American actor who appeared in numerous motion pictures, including The Godfather Part II (1974), The Front (1976), Once Upon a Time in America (1984), The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), Moonstruck (1987), Harlem Nights (1989), Hudson Hawk (1991), Ruby (1992), Léon: The Professional (1994), 2 Days in the Valley (1996), Dinner Rush (2000), and Lucky Number Slevin (2006). He had a pivotal role in the Spike Lee film Do the Right Thing (1989) as Salvatore “Sal” Frangione, earning a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He played Don Domenico Clericuzio in the miniseries The Last Don (1997). Wikipedia
Tributes to the actor, who was 40 when he made his feature film debut, have been flooding social media from co-stars, colleagues and fans as news broke Friday. A statement from his rep said the “beloved husband, father, grandfather, actor and musician passed away last night after a brief illness.”
In Spike Lee 1989 film Do the Right Thing, the NYC native played a pizzeria owner in Brooklyn’s predominantly black Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood as racial issues boiled over, earning Aiello an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
In Moonstruck, he played Cher’s fiancé, who called off their engagement only to have her become engaged to his brother (Nicolas Cage). Aiello, who started his career on the stage in NYC and appeared on Broadway, also made several movies with Woody Allen, including The Purple Rose of Cairo and Radio Days.