(Los Angeles) American actor Tony Sirico, best known for playing Paulie “Walnuts” Gualtieri in The Sopranosdied at the age of 79, his family and a former colleague announced on Friday.
Posted at 12:01 a.m.
Sirico played minor roles of gangster in television and film for decades before being cast in his fifties as the eccentric and sometimes rough-and-ready Paulie, becoming one of the show’s most memorable characters.
“It is with great sadness, but with 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 his wife. family in a statement on Facebook.
Another star of SopranosMichael Imperioli, added: “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, as loyal and as tall as anyone I’ve ever known. (I) am heartbroken today,” Imperioli, who played Christopher Moltisanti, wrote on Instagram.
Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1942, Sirico was frequently arrested as a young man, but caught the comedy bug in prison after watching a troupe of ex-convicts perform.
He played several small roles as a thug from the late 1970s, appearing in series like kojak and miami viceand mafia-themed movies, including Freedmen and mickey blue eyes.
Sirico was in his 50s when he was cast in his best-known role in The SopranosHBO’s groundbreaking series that explored the private lives of a New Jersey criminal group.
His character Paulie delivered many of the show’s most memorable lines, displaying both playful humor and vicious loyalty to boss Tony Soprano.