AP

‘Sopranos’ actor Tony Sirico, ‘Paulie Walnuts,’ dies at 79

Jul 9, 2022, 8:00 AM | Updated: Jul 11, 2022, 6:29 am

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tony Sirico, who played the impeccably groomed mobster Paulie Walnuts in “The Sopranos” and brought his tough-guy swagger to films including “Goodfellas,” died Friday. He was 79.

Sirico died at an assisted living facility in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, said his manager, Bob McGowen. There was no immediate information on the cause of death.

A statement from Sirico’s family confirmed the death of Gennaro Anthony “Tony” Sirico “with great sadness, but with incredible pride, love and a whole lot of fond memories.”

McGowan, who represented Sirico for more than two decades, recalled him as “loyal and giving,” with a strong philanthropic streak. That included helping ex-soldiers’ causes, which hit home for the Army veteran, his manager said.

Steven Van Zandt, who played opposite Sirico as fellow mobster Silvio Dante on “The Sopranos,” saluted him on Twitter as “legendary.”

“A larger than life character on and off screen. Gonna miss you a lot my friend,” the actor and musician said.

Michael Imperioli, who portrayed Christopher Moltisanti on “The Sopranos,” called Sirico his “dear friend, colleague and partner in crime.”

“Tony was like no one else: he was as tough, as loyal and as big hearted as anyone i’ve ever known,” Imperioli said on Instagram.

Sirico was unconcerned about being cast in a string of bad guy roles, McGowan said, most prominently that of Peter Paul “Paulie Walnuts” Gualtieri in the 1999-2007 run of the acclaimed HBO drama starring James Gandolfini as mob boss Tony Soprano. (Gandolfini died in 2013 at age 51).

“He didn’t mind playing a mob guy, but he wouldn’t play an informant,” or as Sirico put it, a “snitch,” McGowan said.

Sirico, born July 29, 1942, in New York City, grew up in the Flatbush and Bensonhurst neighborhoods where he said “every guy was trying to prove himself. You either had to have a tattoo or a bullet hole.”

“I had both,” he told the Los Angeles Times in a 1990 interview, calling himself “unstable” during that period of his life. He was arrested repeatedly for criminal offenses, he said, and was in prison twice. In his last stint behind bars, in the 1970s, he saw a performance by a group of ex-convicts and caught the acting bug.

“I watched ’em and I thought, ‘I can do that.’ I knew I wasn’t bad looking. And I knew I had the (guts) to stand up and (bull) people,” he told the Times. “You get a lot of practice in prison. I used to stand up in front of these cold-blooded murderers and kidnapers — and make ’em laugh.”

Sirico also was cast outside the gangster mold, playing police officers in the films “Dead Presidents” and “Deconstructing Harry.” Among his other credits were Woody Allen films including “Bullets over Broadway” and “Mighty Aphrodite,” and appearances on TV series including “Miami Vice” and voice roles on “Family Guy” and “American Dad!”

Sirico is survived by daughter Joanne Sirico Bello; son Richard Sirico; his brother, Robert Sirico, a priest; and other relatives.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Arizona will not approve new housing construction on the fast-growing edges of metro Phoenix that r...

Associated Press

Arizona Senate passes plan to manage rural groundwater, but final success is uncertain

A plan to manage rural groundwater passed the Arizona Senate amid concerns about the availability of sufficient water for future generations.

1 day ago

A woman pauses while shopping at a Kohl's store in Clifton, N.J., Jan. 26, 2024. On Thursday, Feb. ...

Associated Press

Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge picked up last month in sign of still-elevated prices

An inflation gauge favored by the Federal Reserve increased in January, the latest sign that the slowdown in U.S. consumer price increases is occurring unevenly from month to month.

2 days ago

This undated image provided by Mikel Desmond shows his brother Marcus Tessier, who turned up in Dem...

Associated Press

Missing teen with autism found in New Mexico, about 200 miles away from his Arizona home

A missing teen with autism has been found in New Mexico — about 200 miles away from his home in southern Arizona.

2 days ago

A newly released report on last year’s fatal crash involving a pickup truck and a group of bicycl...

Associated Press

Report suggests steering of vehicle that caused fatal Goodyear bicycle crash worked fine

A new report on last year’s fatal Goodyear bicycle crash has cast doubts about the driver’s claim the vehicle’s steering locked up.

3 days ago

Israeli Embassy...

Associated Press

US airman dies after setting himself ablaze outside Israeli Embassy in Israel-Hamas war protest

An active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force has died after he set himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C.

5 days ago

Biden and Trump to visit Mexico border Thursday immigration...

Associated Press

Biden and Trump both plan trips to the Mexico border Thursday, dueling for advantage on immigration

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will make dueling trips to the U.S-Mexico border on Thursday.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

...

Canvas Annuity

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.

‘Sopranos’ actor Tony Sirico, ‘Paulie Walnuts,’ dies at 79