Tony Sirico, the actor best known for his role as Paulie Walnuts on The Sopranos, has died. He was 79.
Sirico’s manager confirmed the news to EW on Friday, saying, “He was a great and loyal client, he always [donated] to charities and was a loyal member of the Wounded Warriors, very patriotic.” His manager did not provide a cause of death.
The actor’s brother, Rev. Robert Sirico, also announced the news on Facebook.
“It is with great sadness, but with incredible pride, love and a whole lot of fond memories, that the family of Gennaro Anthony ‘Tony’ Sirico wishes to inform you of his death on the morning of July 8, 2022,” Robert wrote. “Tony is survived by his two beloved children, Joanne Sirico Bello and Richard Sirico, grandchildren, siblings, nieces, nephews and many other relatives … The family is deeply grateful for the many expressions of love, prayer and condolences and requests that the public respect its privacy in this time of bereavement. Memorial donations may be made in his honor to Wounded Warriors, St. Jude’s Hospital and the Acton Institute.”
Sirico’s Sopranos costar Michael Imperioli shared a tribute on Instagram.
“It pains me to say that my dear friend, colleague and partner in crime, the great TONY SIRICO has passed away today,” Imperioli wrote. “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.”
Born in 1942 in Brooklyn, New York, Sirico’s first acting credit was playing Frankie Rio in the 1977 period drama Hughes and Harlow: Angels in Hell. He appeared in many TV series, films, and TV movies for the next decade and a half, but his breakout role came in 1990 when he was cast as Tony Stacks in Goodfellas. His best-known role came nine years later when he starred as Peter Paul “Paulie Walnuts” Gualtieri in the legendary mobster series The Sopranos.
Sirico recently appeared in the yet-to-be-released sports drama feature Super Athlete as Coach Lou, which was filmed before his death. He was also cast in two additional movies, Street Justice and All Mobbed Up, although it’s unclear how his death will affect production on both projects.
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