Entertainment

Star famed for The Sopranos role dies

Sirico was best known for his role as the memorable Paulie on The Sopranos, playing the character across all eight seasons of the iconic mob drama.He died at an “assisted living facility” in Florida, according to The Hollywood Reporter, which said Sirico had been suffering from dementia from some years.His manager Bob McGowan confirmed the news and paid tribute to Sirico, calling him a “loyal client” and a “good friend”.Sirico’s brother Robert Sirico also confirmed the actor’s death on Facebook.The tributes have already started to flow with The Sopranos co-star Michael Imperioli posting on social media, “It pains me to say that my dear friend, colleague and partner in crime, the great Tony Sirico has passed away today.“Tony was like no one else: he was as tough, as loyal and as big hearted as anyone I’ve ever known.“I was at his side through so much: through good times and bad. But mostly good. And we had a lot of laughs. We found a groove as Christopher and Paulie and I am proud to say I did a lot of my best and most fun work with my dear pal Tony.“I will miss him forever. He is truly irreplaceable. I send love to his family, friends and his many, many fans. He was beloved and will never be forgotten. Heartbroken today.”Actor and musician Steve Van Zandt, who played Silvio on The Sopranos, wrote on Twitter, “RIP Tony Sirico. Legendary. Silvio’s best buddy ‘Paulie Walnuts’ in The Sopranos, Frankie ‘The Fixer’s’ older brother Antonino ‘Father Tony’ Tagliano in Lilyhammer. A larger-than-life character on and off screen. Gonna miss you a lot my friend. Deepest condolescences to the family.”Sirico’s character on The Sopranos, Paulie, was one of the Tony Soprano’s confidants, a wily, impulsive and tempestuous mob lieutenant who sometimes made situations worse.He had originally auditioned for the role of Uncle Junior, which went to Dominic Chianese, and The Sopranos creator David Chase offered him the part of Paulie instead.Sirico was born in New York City in 1942 and had a short stint in the army before he turned to acting in the 1970s. His first role was in the film Crazy Joe and he would go on to have bit parts in Defiance, One Man Jury, Exposed and Hello Again.He often gravitated towards roles in mob-related stories, having also appeared in Goodfellas, Casino, Mighty Aphrodite and Mickey Blue Eyes.

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