‘The Sopranos Actor’ Was 79 – The Hollywood Reporter
Tony Sirico, best known for his role as “Paulie Walnuts” Gualtieri on The Soprano, is dead. He was 79 years old.
Sirico died Friday at an assisted living facility in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., according to his 25-year-old manager, Bob McGowan. No cause of death was revealed, but Sirico had suffered from dementia for two years.
“Not only was he a loyal customer, he was also a good friend,” McGowan said. The Hollywood Reporter.
Sirico portrayed “Paulie Walnuts” Gualtieri, a close confidante of James Gandolfini’s Tony Soprano, on the HBO series.
His Soprano co-star Michael Imperioli paid tribute to Sirico on his instagram writing: ‘It pains me to say that my dear friend, colleague and partner in crime, the great TONY SIRICO passed away today. Tony was unlike anyone else: he was as tough and as loyal and as tall as anyone I’ve ever known.
He continued, “I was by his side through so much: through the good times and the bad. But mostly good. And we laughed a lot. We found a rhythm as Christopher and Paulie and I’m proud to say I did a lot of my best and funniest work with my dear friend Tony. I will miss him forever. He is truly irreplaceable. Sending love to his family, friends and many fans. He was loved and will never be forgotten. Heartbroken today.
Born in New York on July 29, 1942, Sirico served in the military before launching his acting career in the 1970s. Sirico made his acting debut in the 1974 drama crazy joe with Henry Winkler.
Sirico was also known for his roles in films such as Freedmen, cop lands and blue eyed mickey. He frequently collaborated with Woody Allen, having appeared in the director’s films Bullets on Broadway, Mighty Aphrodite, Everybody say I love you, Deconstruct Harry, Celebrity and Wonderful wheel.
Among his television work, he played a voice role in five episodes of family guy like Vinny Griffin, who was temporarily the family dog. Sirico also returned to Netflix Lilyhammer and as a voice over American Dad! Other television roles include miami vice, Mandrel, Medium, Taxi Brooklyn and The Grindr.
His most recent work includes the film Respect the Jux.
Sirico was also remembered by his co-stars Lorraine Bracco and Stevie Van Zandt. Soprano and Freedmen star Bracco tweeted“A stand up guy who was always supportive of me and loved my kids and my parents. I have a lifetime of memories with Tony – starting with Goodfellas to The Sopranos and way beyond, but my God we are -we had fun doing the Bensonhurst Spelling Bee. Hope he’s in heaven making everyone crack up now. Love you mate. Bracco also starred alongside Sirico in a Funny or Die short The Bensonhurst spelling bee.
Sirico’s Lilyhammer co-star Zandt wrote:, “RIP Tony Sirico. Legendary. Best pal of Silvio ‘Paulie Walnuts’ in The Sopranos, older brother of Frankie ‘The Fixer’ Antonino ‘Father Tony’ Tagliano in Lilyhammer. A larger than life character on and off screen. I will miss you very much my friend. Sincere condolences to the family. »
Meanwhile, HBO described Sirico as “a exceptional and one-of-a-kind talent. “On The Sopranos, his legendary performance as the unwavering Paulie Walnuts cemented him as an icon, loved for his one-liners and unwavering devotion. He will be dearly missed by the HBO family,” said a shared statement on the official HBO Twitter account read.
Sirico is survived by a daughter and a brother.