Celebrities

‘The Sopranos’ gangster Tony Sirico dies at 79

Tony Sirico, the actor who performed eccentric gangster Paulie Walnuts on The Sopranos, died Friday in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He was 79 years previous.

His dying was confirmed by Bob McGowan, his supervisor. Motive not specified.

Paulie Walnuts – Paul Gualtieri’s nickname as a result of he as soon as stole a truck stuffed with nuts (he was anticipating TVs) – was one in all mob boss Tony Soprano’s most loyal, oversensitive and reckless males. Paulie was a kind of guys who was concerned in an intervention for a drug addict, and when it was his flip to talk, they hit the man within the face. He beloved his mom (though he came upon she was actually his aunt), and she or he beloved him as a result of he wrote checks to maintain her in an costly nursing dwelling.

Paulie wore tracksuits, slept with prostitutes, was afraid of germs, hated cats, and watched TV in a plastic-covered chair. He hated being caught with a virtually $900 restaurant test, however he may respect a bag of scrumptious ketchup on a chilly Pine Barrens evening when there was nothing else to eat.

When the solid of The Sopranos appeared in a gaggle picture on the quilt of Rolling Stone in 2001, Pauley was standing with a baseball bat casually slung over his proper shoulder. Not a single barber on the set of The Sopranos was allowed to the touch Mr. Sirico’s hair, which was darkish and full with two silver “wings” on the perimeters. I dried it with a hair dryer and sprayed it myself.

Sirico’s face was additionally acquainted to followers of Woody Allen movies. He appeared in a number of of them, beginning with Bullet Over Broadway (1994), the place he performed the right-hand man of a robust gangster turned theatrical producer. He was a boxing coach in The Mighty Aphrodite (1995), an escaped convict in Everybody Says I Love You (1996), an everyday jail cop in Deconstructing Harry (1997), and a gunman. gangster in Coney Island in Surprise Wheel (2017).

Gennaro Anthony Sirico, Jr. was born in Brooklyn on July 29, 1942, to stevedore Jerry Sirico and Marie (Cappelluzzo) Sirico. Junior, as he was known as, remembered that he first received into bother when he stole a nickel from a newsstand. In accordance with his brother Robert Sirico, he attended Midwood Excessive Faculty however didn’t graduate.

“I grew up in Bensonhurst the place there have been numerous mobsters,” he advised Cigar Aficionado in 2001. approached one another. There was one thing very intriguing about them, particularly for a kid.”

For a while he labored at a development web site, however quickly succumbed to temptation. “I began working with the flawed guys and located myself doing numerous unhealthy issues,” he stated within the James Toback documentary The Huge Bang (1989). Unhealthy issues like armed theft, extortion, coercion and gun possession.

Whereas serving a 20-month four-year sentence at Sing Sing, a most safety jail in Ossining, New York, he noticed a troupe of actors, ex-convicts, cease there to carry out for the inmates. “After I watched them, I stated to myself, ‘I can do that,'” he advised The Day by day Information in 1999.

He was an uncredited additional in The Godfather: Half 2 (1974) and made his official movie debut in Hughes & Harlow: Angels in Hell (1977) by Larry Buchanan, a self-proclaimed hack filmmaker. Sirico then performed small roles in tv and movie for over a decade, culminating within the function of screaming mobster Tony Stacks in The Goodfellas (1990).

His first directorial lawyer was Mr. Toback, who directed him within the crime drama Fingers (1978) with Harvey Keitel; the romantic drama Love and Cash (1981) starring Ray Sharkey and Klaus Kinski; and the comedian drama Pickup (1987) with Molly Ringwald and Robert Downey Jr., in addition to a documentary.

Previous to The Sopranos, he was a cop in Lifeless Presidents (1995), a suburban mobster in Cop Nation (1997), and a capo for the Gambino crime household within the TV film Gotti (1996).

As quickly as The Sopranos went on the air in 1999, it turned extraordinarily and broadly well-liked. Sirico quickly realized that he was very well-known. “If I am with 5 different Paulies,” he advised The New York Occasions in 2007, imagining a slightly unlikely scenario, “and somebody yells, ‘Hey Paulie,’ I do know that is for me.”

After the HBO collection led to 2007, he typically labored along with his co-stars on The Sopranos.

After enjoying Bert as Ernie Steve Shirippa within the Christmas particular of Sesame Road (2008), he appeared with Steven Van Zandt on Lilyhammer (2013-14) and with Michael Rispoli on Pals and Romans ( 2014). ) and with Vincent Pastore and others in Sarah Q (2018).

He additionally voiced a wise avenue canine named Vinnie within the animated collection Household Man (2013-16).

This yr, he appeared within the crime drama Respect the Jux.

Sirico married and divorced early. He was survived by two youngsters, Joan Sirico Bello and Richard Sirico; sister Carol Pannunzio; two brothers, Robert Sirico and Carmine Sirico; and several other grandchildren. He lived in Fort Lauderdale.

He introduced at the very least one nice lesson from the world of the mafia to The Sopranos. He insisted that his character was by no means portrayed as a rat who would inform on his crime household. He additionally did not need his character to kill a girl – Paulie suffocated an aged nursing dwelling resident with a pillow when she interrupted him stealing her financial savings – however was pleasantly stunned that individuals within the previous neighborhood did not appear to assume much less about it. him after the episode was proven.

Nonetheless, to start with, it generally occurred to him that he rejected the darkish aspect.

“I used to be this 30-year-old ex-criminal villain sitting in a classroom stuffed with younger, critical playwright college students,” Sirico recalled in an interview with the Day by day Information. The instructor “leaned over to me after I performed the scene and whispered, ‘Tony, depart the gun at dwelling.’ After so a few years of holding the gun, I did not even notice I had it with me.”

Vimal Patel made a report.

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