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RIP Vincent Schiavelli
December 26, 2005 2:06 PM   Subscribe

RIP Vincent Schiavelli, a character actor who appeared in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Buckaroo Banzai, Amadeus, Death to Smoochie and a ton of other films. A cult favorite, he was one of those actors you looked at and thought, "who is that guy?".
posted by dbiedny (81 comments total)

 
Not to be confused with Jeffrey Tambor.

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posted by furtive at 2:10 PM on December 26, 2005 [1 favorite]


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posted by Sticherbeast at 2:12 PM on December 26, 2005


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I loved him in that Bond movie.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 2:16 PM on December 26, 2005


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posted by pjern at 2:19 PM on December 26, 2005


Great actor. It's a loss. Though I don't know how I'd feel about being described as "droopy-eyed" in my own obit.
posted by brundlefly at 2:21 PM on December 26, 2005


He's was excellent as the priest who married Latka and Simka on "Taxi".
posted by soiled cowboy at 2:22 PM on December 26, 2005 [1 favorite]


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posted by nola at 2:23 PM on December 26, 2005


"Mr Meyer! Please join us at the blackboard and show us your solution to this paltry geometric dilemma."
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:24 PM on December 26, 2005


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posted by Busithoth at 2:38 PM on December 26, 2005


I loved him in that classic episode of Star Trek: TNG. "PEACE! Through SUPERIOR FIREPOWER!" Awesome.
posted by Gator at 2:52 PM on December 26, 2005


A cult favorite, he was one of those actors you looked at and thought, "who is that guy?".

This is exactly the guy I think of when I think of that phenomenon. He was great in so many things.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 3:00 PM on December 26, 2005


mr_crash_davis beat me to it! I always think of him first in Better Off Dead.

He also did a lot of wonderful work for the National Marfan Foundation (he was the honorary co-chair of the organization for several years, I believe). When I first saw that he died, in fact, I initially assumed it was from an aortic aneurysm, which is one of the major risks for people with Marfan's.
posted by scody at 3:02 PM on December 26, 2005


For some reason, I associate him with Seinfeld and the ancient tv show Fridays. Am I wrong?
posted by ParisParamus at 3:02 PM on December 26, 2005


Wrong on both scores. I was wrong. And I admit it.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:06 PM on December 26, 2005


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posted by ParisParamus at 3:07 PM on December 26, 2005


Moonlighting too!

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posted by amberglow at 3:08 PM on December 26, 2005


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Dude. The subway guy from Ghost.
posted by fungible at 3:23 PM on December 26, 2005


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posted by nevercalm at 3:29 PM on December 26, 2005


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posted by Mijo Bijo at 3:30 PM on December 26, 2005


Fametracker's "Hey! It's That Guy!" has an entry for Schiavelli, who also made an appearance as Jenny Calendar's gypsy uncle in Season 2 of Buffy. And thanks for the Marfan link, scody. I had no idea Lincoln had it as well. Strange that the AP bio didn't mention that part of his life.

p.s. I'll never understand why some folks who think it's worth posting news about a death to the front page apparently don't think it's worth providing more than a brief news obit. Did you care about the guy or not? If so, why not link to something worthwhile about his life, too?
posted by mediareport at 3:31 PM on December 26, 2005


Well, I'll be. This one's for you, amberglow. From a scifi.com X-Files page:

The twice-married Schiavelli made TV history playing the first "out" gay character in a prime-time series cast, Peter Panama in the 1972-73 series The Corner Bar.

More from PlanetOut:

The '70s also marked the first time that television saw its first gay series regular. A lot of people think that Jodie (Billy Crystal) on "Soap" was the first regular gay character, but Peter (Vincent Schiavelli) of "The Corner Bar" beat him by five years, according to Monush. Schiavelli played a designer on "The Corner Bar," which premiered in '72. "Soap" didn't come along until '77.

More:

The Corner Bar (sitcom) ABC 1972-1973
*Peter Panama 1972 (Vincent Schiavelli)

Set in a New York City neighborhood bar called Grant's Tomb. The regular customers included Peter, a gay set designer. The show was reworked for the 1973 season in several elements, including dropping him, but the show was cancelled again anyway.

posted by mediareport at 3:39 PM on December 26, 2005


mediareport: interestingly, no one's positive if Lincoln had Marfan Syndrome for sure but to my knowledge it's considered a pretty likely possibility. But yeah, I'm surprised too that none of the obits I've read (so far) for Schiavelli mention Marfan Syndrome; he was quite open about having it, and had raised a lot of awareness of the disorder and the need for research over the years.
posted by scody at 3:42 PM on December 26, 2005


John O'Connor is dead; he fell on his head.

I blame the monkey-boys!

Rest in peace, my Lectroid brother.
posted by John Smallberries at 3:46 PM on December 26, 2005 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised too that none of the obits I've read (so far) for Schiavelli mention Marfan Syndrome

The rush to go to press (or make a post) is a terrible thing, ain't it? Can't wait to see who manages to include the "first regular gay character on TV" thing. It's certainly a detail that merits as much inclusion as his role in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Yeesh.
posted by mediareport at 3:47 PM on December 26, 2005


He was also a chef and author of three cookbooks. And he was great in Fast Times at Ridgemont High as Mr. Vargas.

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posted by OneOliveShort at 3:47 PM on December 26, 2005


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posted by JHarris at 3:50 PM on December 26, 2005


I met him with Allyce randomly back when I was in high school and she was on Moonlighting. They were both very nice to me. RIP.
posted by dontoine at 3:51 PM on December 26, 2005


My favorite cameo of his was in the movie Nightshift.
posted by any major dude at 4:00 PM on December 26, 2005


Wasn't he married to the girl who played the secretary in Moonlighting? No mention of it in the article.
posted by vronsky at 4:02 PM on December 26, 2005


Like others, I knew him best as the Wonderful Guy in Better Off Dead.

But it's also cool to see him with a big beard as the menacing juggler in Batman Returns.

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posted by Aknaton at 4:04 PM on December 26, 2005


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he bore a curious resemblance to ParisParamus. I'm not kidding.
posted by jonmc at 4:08 PM on December 26, 2005


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posted by djeo at 4:26 PM on December 26, 2005


i didn't know, media--cool--i always thought Jody on soap was the first regular character too.

he was wonderful in everything, and worked a ton, which is much much more than most actors--RIP
posted by amberglow at 4:37 PM on December 26, 2005


ParisParamus : " Wrong on both scores. I was wrong. And I admit it."

Wow. Huh.
posted by graventy at 4:38 PM on December 26, 2005


Married to Allyce Beasley from 1985 - 1988.
posted by vronsky at 5:08 PM on December 26, 2005


Goodbye to another great character actor. He's been such a consistent presence in movies & TV for the last 30 years, I feel like he's been a 'familiar stranger' to me since I was a kid.
RIP.

he bore a curious resemblance to ParisParamus. I'm not kidding.

Wait, I thought PP was a 20-something Asian girl... Or is this just another of his facets?

posted by maryh at 5:10 PM on December 26, 2005


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posted by Smart Dalek at 5:11 PM on December 26, 2005


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posted by ktoad at 5:11 PM on December 26, 2005


I just watched the pilot for Heat Vision and Jack last night.

Goodbye, that guy. You'll be missed.
posted by wigu at 5:17 PM on December 26, 2005


I forgot he was in that, wigu. he was much younger than I would've guessed.
posted by Busithoth at 5:28 PM on December 26, 2005


Just pulled out and watched Death to Smoochie. Goodbye Buggy Ding Dong.
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:43 PM on December 26, 2005


"Why me, John Bigboote?"

"It might be booby-trapped."

"Oh."

posted by Zonker at 5:49 PM on December 26, 2005


Great actor. It's a loss. Though I don't know how I'd feel about being described as "droopy-eyed" in my own obit.

Would your rather have 'droopy eyed' or "appeared in Death to Smoochie" in your obit?
posted by my sock puppet account at 5:52 PM on December 26, 2005


The truth is, I set Death to Smoochie on the TV several days ago. I just today found the time to watch it again.

That movie is a classic in the apparently-inspired-by-LSD genre.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:03 PM on December 26, 2005


I'm switching to Sanka.
posted by WolfDaddy at 6:14 PM on December 26, 2005


Yep, that role in Ghost is permanently burned into my mind, along with the twins from The Shining, as the most unsettling Hollywood portrayal of the undead.
posted by dgaicun at 6:35 PM on December 26, 2005


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posted by First Post at 6:53 PM on December 26, 2005


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posted by fondle at 7:09 PM on December 26, 2005


For the breakout gay thing alone (obviously a huge risk for any actor at the time) he is worthy of our respect.

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posted by Sparx at 7:10 PM on December 26, 2005


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posted by cookie-k at 7:12 PM on December 26, 2005


I saw him once in an upscale LA grocery store, waiting in a long line to buy just a few Shitake mushrooms. It seemed kinda weird, yet perfectly in "character". (he had the same demeaner in person as he does on film)

In retrospect, it makes perfect sense in context of the cookbook thing.

Hollywood needs more quality character actors like him, he will be missed.
posted by Larzarus at 7:43 PM on December 26, 2005


Dang. RIP John O'Connor.

And Death to Smoochie is very underrarated. One of only 2 Robin Williams movies I can stomach.
posted by dobbs at 8:04 PM on December 26, 2005


Would your rather have 'droopy eyed' or "appeared in Death to Smoochie" in your obit?

Actually, I think I'll request that my obit say both, just to confuse people.
posted by brundlefly at 8:04 PM on December 26, 2005


One of only 2 Robin Williams movies I can stomach.

And the other is Patch Adams.
posted by jonson at 8:12 PM on December 26, 2005


fuckinay.
posted by Edible Energy at 8:18 PM on December 26, 2005


Crap. I'll never forget how he ripped off Herb Tarlek by posing as a WKRP contest winner.

A comprehensive, if poorly designed, catalogue of Great Character Actors.

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posted by evilcolonel at 8:29 PM on December 26, 2005


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This is odd, as I just looked up his IMDB info the other day after seeing him in Arsenal of Freedom (the TNG episode.) Was reading all about him. Well, it's odd for me. It's statistically normal for anyone else who reads this.
posted by cacophony at 9:22 PM on December 26, 2005


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Definitely one of the best parts of Tomorrow Never Dies, too.

"Believe me, Mr. Bond, I could shoot you from Stuttgart und still create ze proper effect."
posted by dhartung at 9:50 PM on December 26, 2005


He'll always be Mr. Hand to me. Of course, I realize *now* that was actually Ray Walston, and Schiavelli actually played Mr. Vargas. But I'm pretty sure he'll always be Mr. Hand to me.

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posted by kimota at 10:29 PM on December 26, 2005


Wow, dobbs. What is the other Robin Williams movie?
posted by cgc373 at 10:29 PM on December 26, 2005


cgc, Garp.
posted by dobbs at 10:52 PM on December 26, 2005


The man who played teachers in all the fun 80s movies (Fast Times and Better Off Dead). Fantastic character actor, terrible loss.
posted by ed at 1:23 AM on December 27, 2005


Milos Foreman lost his good luck charm.

requiescat in pace
posted by RavinDave at 2:20 AM on December 27, 2005


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posted by fixedgear at 4:33 AM on December 27, 2005


Wow, he was just 26-27 when he appeared in OFOTCN, and 33-34 when he played Mr. Vargas in Fast Times (yes, I can add). He looked much older.

Also, How to Get the Man's Foot Outta Your Ass has to be the best movie title of this century.

RIP Vincent.
posted by Devils Slide at 5:09 AM on December 27, 2005


When I read the post, I had no idea who it was talking about. When I clicked the link and saw his picture, I immediately recognized him.

I guess that's a good indication that he was a good / memorable character actor.
posted by JoshTeeters at 5:29 AM on December 27, 2005


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posted by bshort at 6:20 AM on December 27, 2005


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posted by Faint of Butt at 6:30 AM on December 27, 2005


Herr Salieri, if you don't open this door right now, I'm going to eat it all and leave nothing for you! And I'm never going to come and see you again!

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posted by damnthesehumanhands at 6:42 AM on December 27, 2005


furtive: Not to be confused with Jeffrey Tambor.
I thought I was the only person who did that.... I've said it before, of others, and I'll say it of Vincent Schiavelli: Without a lot of folks like him (and John Spencer or Conchatta Ferrell or Wendy Jo Sperber), plugging away year after year without ever getting the top billing, the entertainment industry just wouldn't work. .
posted by lodurr at 6:46 AM on December 27, 2005


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posted by phredhead at 6:52 AM on December 27, 2005


When I read Neil Gaiman's "American Gods", I pictured "that guy" as Bielobog /Czernobog. RIP, and thanks for some quality films.
posted by cosmicbandito at 7:14 AM on December 27, 2005


This makes me sad. He's one of my top fave rave character actors...










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posted by whozyerdaddy at 7:24 AM on December 27, 2005


I'd never even heard of Marfan before. Thanks for the education.

And although he is as recognizable as any actor ever, I never knew his name.
posted by leftcoastbob at 7:31 AM on December 27, 2005


Loved this guy's face!

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posted by stinkycheese at 8:32 AM on December 27, 2005


Schiavelli was a really nice guy to boot. I got to drive for him on a little forgetable film up here in Tacoma called "Waiting for the Light." He was really self efacing (about his looks) soft spoken and kind.
posted by tkchrist at 9:31 AM on December 27, 2005


Mr Vargas RIP
posted by Blubble at 10:06 AM on December 27, 2005


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posted by Pallas Athena at 7:30 PM on December 27, 2005


When I read the post, I had no idea who it was talking about. When I clicked the link and saw his picture, I immediately recognized him.

My sentiments exactly. A wonderful face, and I always enjoyed his work. I also just noticed that his Sicilian memoir/cookbook is the #3 best seller this week at powells.com
posted by LeLiLo at 9:30 PM on December 27, 2005


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posted by Smedleyman at 12:31 PM on December 29, 2005


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posted by Sheppagus at 1:57 PM on December 29, 2005


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