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Vincent Schiavelli, 57; actor played on his gloomy look

ROME -- Vincent Schiavelli, a droopy-eyed New York character actor who appeared in scores of movies, including ''One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and ''Ghost," died of lung cancer yesterday at his home in Sicily. He was 57.

Mr. Schiavelli, whose gloomy look made him perfect to play creepy or eccentric characters, made appearances in some 150 film and television productions, according to the Internet Movie Database.

In ''Fast Times at Ridgemont High," he played the science teacher Mr. Vargas, who was married to the character portrayed by Lana Clarkson.

Mr. Schiavelli, who was born in New York, also appeared as Salieri's valet in ''Amadeus," as ''Cuckoo's Nest" patient Frederickson, as the subway ghost in ''Ghost," as the organ grinder in ''Batman Returns," and as Chester in ''The People vs. Larry Flynt." He was selected in 1997 by Vanity Fair as one of the United States' best character actors.

Mr. Schiavelli studied acting at New York University's School of the Arts.

He also wrote three cookbooks and many food articles for magazines and newspapers.

His books include ''Many Beautiful Things," which was published in 2002 and is a compilation of recipes and anecdotes about his visits to Polizzi Generosa, the small hilltop town where he resided and which was his grandparents' birthplace.

Salvatore Glorioso, mayor of the village, said Mr. Schiavelli was like a brother.

''He was a great friend, a great chef, and a great talker," Glorioso, who knew Mr. Schiavelli for almost four years, said in a telephone interview. ''With a smooth, witty conversation, he would make everything look more colorful. I've lost a brother."

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