His manager, Maryellen Mulcahy, told the Associated Press that he had been treated for multiple myeloma, a type of cancer that strikes the white blood cells.
The bald, mustachioed, raspy-voiced character actor had roles in The Big Lebowski (1998), Barton Fink (1991), Miller's Crossing (1990) and The Man Who Wasn't There (2001.)
TV fans may remember him as Detective
"Having me commit suicide is the one thing I asked Fontana not to do," an angry Polito told the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1994 after learning how his character would die. He had hoped Crosetti would die in the line of duty.
The Philadelphia native tallied more than 100 films over his 35-year career, and continued working up to the end of his life, Mulcahy noted.
He had recently done roles on the TV series Modern Family and Major Crimes. His last film, The Maestro, is due out next year.
People with whom Polito worked remembered him fondly on Twitter.
"Tipping the High Hat to my dear friend Jon Polito, who taught me all (about) ETHICS & loyalty," said his Miller's Crossing co-star, Oscar winner
"Bless you, Jon! I loved every minute we worked together!" said
PHOTOS: People we've lost in 2016