The cause of his death was not disclosed. Although he was in a nursing home for dementia.
Courtesy | In 1971, he was found guilty of criminal weapons and drug possession after being arrested at a club he ran in Manhattan.
Actor Tony Sirico, known for his role as Peter Paul Gualtieri, more popular as Paulie, in the series The Sopranos, has died this Friday at the age of 79, as reported by his brother and his representative of the interpreter in two publications on social networks. .
“With great sadness, but with great pride, love and good memories, the family of Genaro Anthony Tony Sirico wishes to inform you of his death on the morning of July 8, 2022,” Robert Sirico wrote on his Facebook.
In addition, the one who was a representative of Sirico for 25 years, Bob McGowan, confirmed the death and defined him as “a very loyal client” who “always helped those who needed it”.
The cause of his death, which took place in Fort Lauderdale (Florida), where he lived in a residence after being diagnosed with dementia a few years ago, has not been made public. He will be buried in the Basilica of Regina Pacis (Brooklyn, New York) next Wednesday, July 13.
Sirico was born in 1942 and grew up in Bensonhurst (Brooklyn), in a family of Italian immigrants. In his childhood escapades he once coincided with Allan Stewart Konigsberg, a boy who liked sports.
Years later, Sirico, after various problems with the law, would become an actor, and Konigsberg would achieve fame under the name of Woody Allen.
That is why Sirico has been one of the actors who has worked the most with the filmmaker: his unmistakable face appears in up to seven of his films.
The collaboration began in 1994 with Bullets Over Broadway, and continued with Mighty Aphrodite, Everybody Says I Love You, Taking Harry Apart (here was especially hilarious), Celebrity, Cafe Society, and ended with Wonder Wheel.
RIP Tony Sirico pic.twitter.com/SUdAdubyf5
— Kenjac (@JackKennedy) July 8, 2022
However, his first steps did not promise anything good. His neighborhood was in the area of influence of the Colombo family, under the command of Carmine Junior Persico (in The Sopranos, his character refers directly to it and talks about the Colombos in one episode).
For this reason, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, he was arrested 28 times. In 1967, he was sent to prison for holding up a Brooklyn nightclub, and released after serving 13 months.
In 1971, he was convicted of criminal weapons and drug possession after being arrested at a club he ran in Manhattan, and sentenced to four years in prison. Sirico ended up serving 20 months in seclusion at Sing Sing.
Sing Sing changed his life. In several interviews and reports she tells that there she met a theater group made up of ex-convicts, and decided to give herself an opportunity in acting.
The physicist both helped him and conditioned him: “I have made about 45 films. In 40 of them I have played a mobster and in the other five, a corrupt policeman ”, he joked a few years ago in an interview.
His first opportunity came in Crazy Joe (1974), with which he obtained the Actors Union card and the possibility of doing professional work.
And yes, in his 80 film and television appearances there are many low-quality movies. However, he also worked on shows like Miami Vice, Cosby, Lilyhammer (with fellow Sopranos star Steve Van Zandt) and Family Guy, where he voiced the dog Vinny. In the movies, in addition to his seven jobs with Allen, he played Tony Stacks in One of Us (1990), Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece. Interestingly, his Tony was under the command of a capo named Paulie, the opposite of what would happen almost a decade later in The Sopranos.
Sirico will always be Paulie, the dapper psycho mobster from The Sopranos. The actor auditioned to play Uncle Junior, and David Chase called him later to give him the bad news and the good news: he wouldn’t be Uncle Junior, but Paulie Gualtieri would.
“Since I read the script, I knew that it would be special and that it was what I had been waiting for all my life,” he recalled in an interview. Sirico said that the actors interacted a lot with the writers, and that they listened to each other.
An example: the interpreter took care of his mother the last 16 years of his mother’s life, who even lived with him, and that was repeated on the small screen with Paulie.
Paulie, who at the age of 17 became the bodyguard of Johnny Boy Soprano, Tony’s father, was nicknamed Nuts for a robbery in the early nineties of a truck that was supposedly transporting televisions. When they opened it they discovered that he had those nuts.
Described as a callous and paranoid psychopath. That caused some doubts in Sirico, who for example was reluctant in one episode to murder a woman on screen. Chase told him that he was mandatory, and the actor asked him to use at least one revolver, to which the creator of the series refused: he had to do it with his own hands.
In the end they agreed to do it using a pillow. According to the actor, “I was worried about what they would say to me in my neighborhood, and when they aired the chapter nobody commented on anything. They were such fans of the series that they didn’t care what we did.”
What a black week for the world of cinema and TV. After the death of James Caan. Today RIP Tony Sirico (Paulie Gualtieri in The Sopranos). One of my favorite characters in TV history. He will be with Gandolfini again 🥲 pic.twitter.com/Sv11fkpENy
— 🎬 www.gandolcine.com (Álvaro Fernández) (@gandolcine) July 9, 2022