​Passage: Buddy Cianci and Abe Vigoda

It happened this past week ... the loss of two veterans of the public stage.


Buddy Cianci
was the mayor of Providence, Rhode Island, for a total of 21 years. A natural politician, Cianci was first elected in 1974 at age 32.

He was forced from office twice over the years -- the first time for pleading no contest to assault, the second time for a racketeering conviction that sent him to prison for four-and-a-half years.


When our Mo Rocca caught up with him in 2014, he was making one last (futile) bid for mayor, minus his trademark toupee:

Rocca: "Why did you get rid of the toupee?"
Cianci: "Well, you know, I didn't feel a need for it anymore. There was no need to wear it anymore. What you see is what you get!"

But despite his misdeeds, he was beloved by many for his role in sparking a downtown renaissance in Providence.

Buddy Cianci was 74.


Abe Vigoda wasn't a criminal, but he first came to fame portraying one in the 1972 film, "The Godfather."

He played Sal Tessio, a mobster about to be rubbed out for the act of betraying crime boss Michael Corleone:

Tessio: "Tell Mike it was only business. I always liked him."
abe-vigoda-robert-duvall-the-godfather-620.jpg
Abe Vigoda with Robert Duvall and Joe Spinell in "The Godfather (1972).
Paramount

Vigoda went on to a long (and more cheerful) run as a comic detective on the TV series, "Barney Miller" -- and on his own spinoff series, "Fish."

Dogged for years by false reports of his death (beginning with People Magazine's reference to him in 1982 as "the late Abe Vigoda"), he responded with good humor:

His family says Vigoda passed away last Tuesday morning. He was 94.

Watch Conan O'Brien's tribute to Abe Vigoda, with highlights reel: