21 January, 2006

r.i.p. vincent schiavelli

(I am horrendously late with this, because no one had the courtesy to tell me Mr Schiavelli had died just after Christmas. I only found out yesterday, and for some reason I can't quite put my finger on, it made me extremely sad. Perhaps because he's one of those performers you kind of take for granted, never fully appreciating. You always smile and say "oh it's him!" when he pops up in something, but it never occurs to you that one day they won't be there anymore. )

Vincent Schiavelli was one of those actors that everyone knows they've seen somewhere. However few can place him, and even fewer can actually name him. His talent as a character actor landed him countless roles, and his strikingly unusual features - sad droopy eyes and flyaway hair - ensured the majority of those roles were as criminals and/or weirdos.

He created over 150 characters for film and television. His credits included almost everything directed by Milos Forman (One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Amadeus, The People vs. Larry Flynt, Man On The Moon...), the creepy subway ghost in Ghost, the organ grinder of the sociopathic circus in Batman Returns, the science teacher in Fast Times At Ridgemont High... he even popped up in a couple of episodes of Buffy as the patriarch of Ms Calendar's secret gypsy family.

In 1997, Vanity Fair named him as one of America's finest character actors.

He died of lung cancer at his home in Sicily, Italy on Boxing Day. He was 57.

Vale, Vincent.



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