Actor Vincent Schiavelli dies at 57

Actor Vincent Schiavelli, who had movie roles in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Ghost, died at his home in Sicily early today. He was 57.

The New York-born actor died of lung cancer, said Salvatore Glorioso, the mayor of Polizzi Generosa, the Sicilian village where Schiavelli lived.

Schiavelli, whose gloomy, droopy-eyed look made him perfect to play creepy or eccentric characters, appeared in more than 120 films and television shows, according to the Internet Movie Database.

Other movies he had roles in include Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Amadeus, Batman Returns, and The People vs Larry Flint, and he was selected in 1997 by Vanity Fair as one of the US’s best character actors.

“He was a great friend, a great chef and a great talker,” said Glorioso, who knew Schiavelli for almost four years.

“With a smooth, witty conversation, he would make everything look more colourful. I’ve lost a brother,” he said.

Schiavelli studied acting at New York University’s School of the Arts.

He also wrote three cookbooks and many food articles for magazines and newspapers, possibly inheriting his love for cooking from his grandfather, whom Schiavelli grew up with and who had been a cook for an Italian baron before moving to the US.

Schiavelli also worked in Italy, including in 2001 when he directed a theatre piece in Sicily based on nine fables.

A funeral service will be held tomorrow in Polizzi Generosa, Glorioso said. Survivors include a son, an ex-wife and a girlfriend, the mayor added.

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