Vincent Margera, better known as Don Vito to Jackass fans, spent the last few years battling with a variety of life-threatening ailments including kidney and liver failure. This morning, he officially lost that battle. He was only fifty-nine-years-old.
Once upon a time, Vincent Margera was just Vincent Margera. He was born in Concordia, Pennsylvania and was living a fairly non descript life. Then his nephew Bam Margera started making goofy videos with his buddies, his family’s help was enlisted and the larger character of Don Vito began evolving until it was one of the more popular segments of Jackass. Exactly how much was true to life and how much was a caricature was unclear, but regardless, fans took to the sweaty, easily excitable Margera and he took to it a little too much too.
On Jackass, Vincent Margera basically played a fictionalized version of himself. Nicknamed “Don Vito” because of his Italian heritage and how difficult he often was to understand, Bam’s Uncle was often shown angry, flustered and sometimes seemingly inebriated. Viewers couldn’t get enough, and Don Vito soon began making appearances and showing up in side projects as his character, many alongside his nephew Bam and Bam's BFF Ryan Dunn (Also RIP).
Here’s one memorable example…
Sadly, the good will came to an end a few years later when Margera was arrested for allegedly groping several underage girls during an event. His lawyer argued he took on the character and thought that’s what fans expected out of him. A judge responded by barring him from playing Don Vito and sentencing him to probation. A few years later, his health began giving out and he largely disappeared from the public eye.
Vincent Margera leaves behind a complicated legacy, but whether he spent his final years disassociated from the Jackass crew or not, he was, in many ways, a perfect fringe player for the collective. Outlandish, over the top, willing to do anything to himself or his body for a laugh and for fame, he was a true jackass in every sense of the word, and he’ll be missed by his friends, family, co-stars and fans of Jackass the world over.