Veteran actor Jon Polito, famous for his roles in several Coen brothers films, has died at the age of 65, it was announced on Friday.
Polito’s friend, film director John McNaughton announced the news on Facebook. “Jon was a born actor and will be deeply missed by his legion of friends, fans, family and of course his long time partner, Darryl Armbruster to whom I send my condolences. R.I.P. old pal,” McNaughton said.
Polito was born in Philadelphia in 1950. During his 35-year career he featured in more than 100 films and dozens of television and Broadway shows, McNaughton added. He most notably featured on several Coen brothers films, including playing a studio flunkey in Barton Fink, a gangster in Miller’s Crossing, and a private investigator in the Big Lebowski.
On television, Polito played Det Steve Crosetti in Homicide: Life on the Street, an NBC series based on the David Simon book Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets, which chronicles a year Simon spent with the Baltimore police department’s homicide unit. Polito was written out of the show after two seasons following a disagreement with the producers.
He has had a number of other roles in television more recently, on shows such as It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and a recurring role in Modern Family. He was also known as the landlord Sylvio in the 90s hit show Seinfeld.
He was set to appear in The Maestro, which is currently in pre-production.
Polito has worked with a number of directors including Tom Hanks, Clint Eastwood and Tim Burton, his partner Darryl Armbruster, who is also an actor, wrote on IMDB.
He won an Obie award in 1980 for his off-Broadway theatre performances, and in 2005, he was awarded the Maverick Spirit Event award at Cinequest film festival. The Hollywood Independent film festival awarded Polito with the best actor in a short film in 2012 for his role in Anti-Muse.