Jon Polito, best known for his frequent presence in Coen Brothers films and playing an anguished cop on Homicide: Life on the Street, has passed away. He was 65.
His manager confirmed that the actor, who was first diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2010, died of cancer in Duarte, California on Thursday, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Jon Polito has passed away at the age of 65. A television and film actor, Polito's career over the last 35 years included roles on Seinfeld, Modern Family and Homicide: Life on the Street. He was a favourite of the Coen brothers, appearing in five of their films: Miller's Crossing, Barton Fink, The Hudsucker Proxy, The Big Lebowski, and The Man Who Wasn't There. He also received an OBIE award in 1980 for Best Actor for his theatre performances off Broadway. If you aren't familiar with this veteran character actor, take the time to check out his body of work. Rest in peace. #JonPolito #RIP #CharacterActor #OBIE #TV #Film #OffBroadway #Seinfeld #CoenBrothers #ModernFamily #HomicideLifeOnTheStreet #MillersCrossing #BartonFink #TheBigLebowski #TheCrow #TheHudsuckerProxy #VoiceActor #TheManWhoWasntThere
Polito, an Italian-American from Philadelphia showed up recently on Modern Family as Jay’s (Ed O’Neill) business rival and former best pal Earl Chambers and also on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” where he appeared as Danny DeVito’s long-lost brother.
The actor’s association with the Coen Brothers began in 1990 with Miller’s Crossing as the rival Italian crime boss Caspar. The following year, Polito appeared in the Coens’ Barton Fink. Their combination continued in small but memorable roles including The Hudsucker Proxy, The Big Lebowski and The Man Who Wasn’t There.
Polito was also cast in the first season of Homicide: Life on the Streets, as detective Steve Crosetti before he split from the NBC procedural. The actor’s TV credits also include 1989 sitcom Seinfeld, Dream On and Gilmore Girls.
Many of Polito’s friends and co-actors including Michael McKean, Rainn Wilson, creator of popular comedy drama Modern Family, Steven Levitan, Comedy Bang! Bang! director and actor Scott Aukerman and Adam Horowitz, took to social media to mourn his death.
“Sad day at Modern Family as we mourn the loss of Jon Polito, a prince who played Earl Chambers so brilliantly. RIP, friend,” Levitan tweeted.
While Aukerman wrote, “One of the coolest days on Bang Bang recently was when Jon Polito guest starred on our ‘You Made Your Bed, Now Lie In It’ sketch.
“He spent all day delightfully regaling us with stories about Miller’s Crossing, Barton Fink, and Death of a Salesman. Then, when the cameras turned on, he slipped into his classic hard-boiled character. A great actor and cool dude! RIP,” he added.
Wilson mentioned, “So fortunate to be able to work with the great Jon Polito. One of the best actors of our time. RIP, Jon.”
Adam Horowitz, who had also worked with the actor wrote, “RIP to the great Jon Polito. I was so lucky to briefly work with him on Popular as Caesar Croutons. If you saw him, it was unforgettable...”
Polito is survived by his husband and partner of many years, Darryl Armbruster.