Abe Vigoda's 1st reported 'death' was in Calgary in 1982

Abe Vigoda first died in Calgary. It was 1982 and Vigoda, fresh off his stint in the TV show Barney Miller, was performing in The Fifth Season, a comedy about a couple of fashion designers, at Stage West. He was not, therefore, at the wrap party for the Miller TV series.

Actor, who actually died on Jan. 22, was the focus of several false reports of his early demise

Abe Vigoda starring in a 1982 production of The Fifth Season at Stage West in Calgary. People Magazine mistakenly reported his death while he was in town. (Stage West)

Abe Vigoda, who died at the age of 94 on Jan. 22, first died in Calgary. 

It was 1982 and Vigoda, fresh off his stint in the TV show Barney Miller, was performing in The Fifth Season, a comedy about a couple of fashion designers, at Stage West. He was not, therefore, at the wrap party for the Miller TV series. 

Enter People Magazine. 

A reporter from the publication was at the party and noted the "late" Vigoda was not in attendance, coming as quite a surprise to the then-vigorous 60-year-old actor. 

'Good humour'

Vigoda took his early departure from earthly bounds in stride, and even played with the news in an interview with Alberta Report journalist Ashley Geddes. 

"He took it in good humour and so on, and so I went and met him and chatted with him and took a picture of him jogging down the street denying he was dead," said Geddes, now senior digital producer at CBC Edmonton. 

"Some celebrities would be kind of pissed off at the media over something like that, but he just took it with good humour and he saw the humour in doing a story showing himself being robust and athletic."

Running gag

It was the start of a running gag for the actor, known for his role in The Godfather as well as in Barney Miller. He was pronounced dead in the media a second time in 1987 and then continually played up his tenuous mortality through gags in movies, television and on late night talk shows. 

There was even a website dedidated to watching whether or not Vigoda was alive or dead, which has now been updated for the last time after the actor died at the age of 94 on Jan. 22.

But he died in Calgary first. 

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