‘The Sopranos’ actor dies at 79

Tony Syrico.

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A painful farewell. Tony Sirico, who was known for playing Paulie Walnuts on The Sopranosdied at the age of 79.

“It is with great sadness, but incredible pride, love and many fond memories that the family of Gennaro Anthony ‘Tony’ Sirico would like to inform you of his passing on the morning of July 8, 2022,” said the actor. the family said Deadline in a statement on Friday, July 8. A cause of death was not immediately disclosed.

Sirico’s manager Bob McGowan also confirmed the news to In touchsaying, “Tony was a loyal customer for 25 years, ex-army vet, always donated to charity and a member of the Wounded Warriors.”

The actor’s former Soprano costar Michel Imperioli paid tribute to Sirico via 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 like no one else: he was as tough and as loyal and as generous as anyone I’ve known. I was by his side through so much: through good times and bad times. But mostly good. And we laughed a lot.”

The white lotus star, 56, added that the duo “found a rhythm” working together during their time on The Sopranos, which aired on HBO from 1999 to 2007. “I’m proud to say that I did a lot of my best and funniest work with my dear friend Tony,” he continued. “I will forever miss him. He is truly irreplaceable. Sending love to his family, friends and many fans. He was loved and will never be forgotten. Heartbroken today.

Lorraine Braccowho appeared on the show as Dr. Jennifer Melfi, echoed Imperioli’s sentiments in her own Instagram post, sharing a photo of herself laughing with Sirico.

“I love Tony Sirico,” she wrote. “A strong guy who always supported me and who loved my children and my parents. I have a lifetime of memories with Tony – starting with Freedmen at The Sopranos and way beyond – but my God, did we have fun doing the Bensonhurst Spelling Bee – I’m still laughing. I hope he’s in heaven to crack everyone up now. I love you, buddy…rest in peace.

Sirico’s Soprano The character, Peter Paul “Paulie Walnuts” Gualtieri, was a loyal henchman of mob boss Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini). Although the series is known for its unflinching portrayal of violence, Sirico has become a fan favorite for adding moments of humor throughout the grim drama.

Born July 29, 1942, Sirico made his film debut as an extra in the 1974 film crazy joe. He then played gangsters in several films, including queen of the crowd, Mighty Aphrodite, Challenge and – perhaps the most famous – Freedmen.

Before starting to play, Sirico spent time in jail for a weapons crime. He later said he decided to try his hand at show business after a group of actors came to visit the “college”, as he called it. “They were a bunch of ex-cons who came back into the place to entertain the guys,” he said. cigar lover in March 2001. “I saw them, and immediately I knew what I wanted to do. It just hit me. I said, ‘I can do it.’

Although the Deconstruct Harry star is now adored by Soprano fans for his work as Paulie, he first auditioned for the role of Uncle Junior, which went to Dominica Chianese. after the creator David Chase offered him the role of Paulie instead, Sirico took the role on the condition that his character never turn into a rat.

“I come from the streets. I’ve been in the army, I’ve been everywhere,” he said. Deadline in January 2019. “I wouldn’t play rat if you put a gun to my head, and if you put a gun to my head, you better empty it.”

Sirico was last seen on screen earlier this year in Respect the Judgments. In 2018, he reunited with his compatriot Soprano alums Vincent Pastor and Federico Castelluccio in the movie Sarah Q.

The former Lilyhammer star is survived by daughter Joanne and son Richard, her family said, along with grandchildren, siblings, nieces, nephews and many other relatives.

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