Abe Vigoda is known for his role as detective Phil Fish in Barney Miller, but the late actor also made regular appearances on NBC’s Late Night with Conan O’Brien.
On Tuesday’s Conan, host Conan O’Brien and writer Andy Richter took a moment to honor Vigoda, who died in his sleep that morning, in a touching tribute video compiled from several clips of Vigoda’s Late Night work.
“I have to acknowledge to our longtime viewers, people that have been watching us for 22 years or 23 years, Abe was a huge part of our show in New York,” said O’Brien, 52. “I couldn’t believe how many times Abe would come on the show and do hilarious things for us. We used to call him up – and sometimes we’d have the idea like three hours beforehand, it would usually be the silliest thing, Abe would always come right over, do it, such a lovely guy.”
Indeed, in the clips, the three-time Emmy nominee pals around with O’Brien and Richter doing everything from pretending to be a Christmas tree to spoofing his Godfather role.
“Really a wonderful guy. There was a remote segment I did with him where we just went to spend the day in Coney Island, and it was pouring rain, and I got to spend the day with Abe Vigoda in Coney Island!” recalled Richter, 49. “And he was such a lovely person, and so kind and so professional.”
“Very generous guy,” O’Brien added. “Thank you, Abe, for all the laughter.”
Vigoda died at his daughter Carol Vigoda Fuchs’ home in Woodland Park, New Jersey, she confirmed to the Associated Press. He was 94.
Fuchs reported the cause of death as old age, saying, “This man was never sick.”
Conan airs weeknights at 11 p.m. ET on TBS.