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.
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.