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Sopranos Actor Dead

The iconic show "The Sopranos" has lost a member of its cast-and-crew family.

A heart attack has taken the life of Frank Vincent, an actor who was best-known for his performances on the television hit series, according to AOL.

The website, which credited TMZ as its source, reported that the actor was 78 years of age when he died while undergoing open-heart surgery last week in New Jersey. “He had been ill for a few months now,” fellow actor and friend Peter Dobson told the New York Daily News. “From what I understand, he went in a few days ago in some kind of bad shape due to a complication from a prior heart surgery. We were hoping he would pull through.” Dobson and Vincent, who met while filming a movie in 2008, had been collaborating on the feature “Asbury Park.”

“It’s hard to believe he’s gone,” said Vincent Pastore, one of Vincent’s “Sopranos” co-stars. “He was like a godfather to me. He always watched over me. We miss him.” Another actor on the show, Steven Schirripa, added in a written statement: “Frank was a great actor and always a lot of fun. He helped me get my SAG card on my first film, ‘Casino.’ He will be missed.”

Vincent played a gangster named Phil Leotardo on “The Sopranos.” The character, who rose to the top of the show’s fictional crime family, was murdered on the final program of the series. Vincent also was a favorite of filmmaker Martin Scorsese, who cast him in leading roles in “Goodfellas” and “Casino.” The actor’s movie career featured more than 50 films, including “Do the Right Thing.”

According to the Daily News, Vincent was famous for portraying “tough guys,” often opposite actor Joe Pesci. His first major film was Scorcese’s “Raging Bull.” Many movie fans will never forget Vincent’s character, Bill Batts, telling Tommy DeVito (played by Pesci): “Now go home and get your f***ing shine box.” Dobson remarked: “People talk about that one line first when they talk about Frank. That quote will go down like ‘Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn’ (in “Gone With the Wind”). He has this legacy of always playing bad guys, but in real life, he had a giant, gentle soul and was extraordinarily caring.”

Vincent, who appeared on 31 episodes of “The Sopranos” until 2007, explained in a 2009 interview with NJ.com: “I think ‘The Sopranos’ probably solidifies the misconception that people have about New Jersey to begin with. Because you’re from Jersey, and everybody has an accent, you are perceived a certain way. … (Hollywood) needs a gangster, they call me or Joe (Pesci). An Italian-American? Frank or Joe. … It is who you are.” Vincent was born in Massachusetts, but had been a long-time resident of New Jersey.

Vincent was not only an actor. He also played drums in the band Frank Vincent and the Aristocrats. The group performed during the 1960s at New York City nightclubs like the Peppermint Lounge. In 2006, Vincent wrote the book “A Guy’s Guide to Being a Man’s Man.”

Source: AOL, NY Daily News
Photo: YouTube

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