He reportedly passed away following a brief illness.
Sal's Pizzeria may not have been a real restaurant, but it is a location that is a staple in movie-making history. In front of its doors is where Radio Raheem lost his life at the hands of over-zealous police officers, sparking a riot that saw the pizzeria burned to the ground. That storyline was played out in Spike Lee's classic film Do the Right Thing, a movie that has gone down in history as one of the accomplished filmmaker's best.
Starring as Sal was famed actor Danny Aiello, an entertainer with decades of recognized work under his belt. The 86-year-old actor reportedly passed away on Thursday, and since the sad news came to light, many who have worked with Aiello have shared their condolences on social media. Spike Lee used his Instagram to curate a tribute to the late actor as he shared moments that were near to his heart.
"I’m ð Broken. Just Found Out My Brother DANNY AIELLO Made His Transition Last Night. Danny,We Made Cinema History Together With DO THE RIGHT THING. May You Rest In PARADISE," Lee wrote before ending his message with multiple praying hands emojis.
Aside from his groundbreaking role as Sal in Do the Right Thing, you may remember Aiello from films including The Godfather Part II, A Brooklyn State of Mind, Harlem Nights, Man on Fire, Bloodbrothers, Prince of Central Park, Lucky Number Slevin, Mojave Moon, and Moonstruck. He also played Madonna's father in the music video for her hit song "Papa Don't Preach." Check out Lee's walk down memory lane with Aiello below.