Actor Vincent Schiavelli Dies

actor Vincent Schiavelli listens to a question during a press conference at the Locarno film festival, Saturday, Aug.16, 2003.
Actor Vincent Schiavelli, who had movie roles in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and "Ghost," died at his home in Sicily early Monday, officials said. 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, has more than 120 film and television appearances to his name, according to the Internet Movie Database.

"Everybody of a certain age will remember and identify Vincent Schiavelli as being one of the inmates or patients in 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest,'" said Entertainment Tonight film critic Leonard Maltin. "He had a really distinctive face, and I think he was probably cast for his face, as well as his kind of presence."

Other movies he has appeared 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 United States' best character actors.

"Certainly he would have liked meatier roles or roles that allowed him to go beyond just the look, the hangdog look, that he seemed to have," said Maltin. "I met him on a number of occasions, and he was a very upbeat kind of a guy."

Schiavelli also appeared in several Italian films, including "La Bambina dalle mani sporche," "A Pena de pan" and "Indesiderabili, Gli."

"He was a great friend, a great chef and a great talker," Glorioso, who has known Schiavelli for almost four years, said in a telephone interview.

"With a smooth, witty conversation, he would make everything look more colorful. I've lost a brother," he said.

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

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

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

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

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