According to Salvatore Glorioso, the mayor of the Sicilian village in which Schiavelli resided, the actor died of lung cancer.
But it was darker, more gloomy roles, like that of Schiavelli's trademark Ghost performance—credited as “Subway Ghost”—that led to his numerous supporting roles. He was named one of America’s best character actors in a 1997 issue of Vanity Fair magazine.
"He was a great friend, a great chef and a great talker," Glorioso, who had known 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," he added.
Glorioso told AP a funeral service would be held in the actor’s village on Tuesday.