January 23, 2009 09:45 AM
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What started out as a serious study of how the presidents physically age in office turned into a good laugh on the Today show this week, when Meredith Vieira showed “before” and “after” shots of her co-anchor Matt Lauer – and how he might age if he were to take office.

The “before” photo showed the handsome Lauer, 51, as he is today. The “after” shot was the, er, distinctive-looking The Godfather character actor and TV’s Barney Miller and Fish star, Abe Vigoda, 87.

Apparently, someone was not amused: Vigoda himself.

Appearing on Today Friday, Vigoda gave his side of the story. He also brought up the persistent rumor – first triggered by PEOPLE Magazine in the ’80s – that he is dead.

He isn’t, as this video clip proves. He also said, quite affectionately, that he has a grandson who looks like Matt Lauer. All in all, a memorable moment.

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