Rick Aviles (October 14, 1952 – March 17, 1995) was an American stand-up comedian and actor of Puerto Rican descent, best remembered for portraying the villainous Willie Lopez in the film Ghost.
Born in Manhattan, Aviles worked as a street performer and stand-up comedian on the Greenwich Village night-club circuit in New York in the 1970s and 1980s. He was frequently seen in the NYC subways, doing his act for the riders. In 1981, he landed the role of Mad Dog in the film The Cannonball Run. He went on to act in fourteen more film productions. In 1987, Aviles landed a small part as the maintenance man in the film The Secret of My Success, starring Michael J. Fox. That same year he became the host of It’s Showtime at the Apollo, and continued as host until 1991.
In 1990, Aviles landed his most memorable role: Willie Lopez in the film Ghost, a smash hit at the box office that received multiple Oscar nominations. He also appeared in Jim Jarmusch’s Mystery Train (film) (1989) as Will Robinson; Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather Part III (1990) as Mask #1; Brian De Palma’s Carlito’s Way (1993) as Quisqueya; in Waterworld (1995) as the Gatesman, and in Joe’s Apartment (1996) as the voice of a cockroach.
Among the television series in which he appeared are Mr. & Mrs. Dracula (1980), The Day Women Got Even (1980), The Carol Burnett Show (1991) and Stephen King’s The Stand (1994).
At the time of death, Aviles’s obituary in Variety stated he died of heart failure on March 17, 1995. Eleven years later, a 2006 article in Entertainment Weekly listed him as among the celebrities who had contracted HIV and died from complications of AIDS.
|1981||The Cannonball Run||Mad Dog|
|1984||Billions for Boris||Hector|
|The Secret of My Success||Maintenance man|
|1988||Mondo New York||Comic in park|
|Spike of Bensonhurst||Bandana||Alternative titles: The Mafia Kid or Throwback!|
|1989||Mystery Train||Will Robinson||Segment: “Lost in Space”|
|Identity Crisis||El Toro|
|The Godfather Part III||Mask #1|
|1993||The Saint of Fort Washington||Rosario|
|1996||Joe’s Apartment||Cockroach||Voice only|
|1980||Mr. and Mrs. Dracula||Mario||Unknown episodes|
|The Day the Women Got Even||Pancho Diaz|
|1989||No Place Like Home||J.J.|
|1991||Monsters||Mr. Vega||1 episode|
|The Carol Burnett Show||Skit characters||Unknown episodes|
|1993||Moon Over Miami||Frankie the Rat||1 episode|
|1994||The Stand||Rat man||Miniseries|
|1997||Waterworld: The Quest For Dry Land||Atoll Gatesman|