Tony Sirico

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Tony Sirico
Sirico in 2010
Gennaro Anthony Sirico Jr.

(1942-07-29)July 29, 1942[1]
DiedJuly 8, 2022(2022-07-08) (aged 79)
Resting placeCalvary Cemetery, New York City, U.S.
Years active1974–2022
FamilyRobert Sirico (brother)

Gennaro Anthony Sirico Jr. (/sɪˈrk/; July 29, 1942 – July 8, 2022)[2] was an American actor. He was best known for his portrayal of Peter Paul "Paulie Walnuts" Gualtieri in The Sopranos. He also made numerous appearances in the films of Woody Allen.

Early life[edit]

Sirico was born in Brooklyn, New York City,[3] on July 29, 1942, to a family of Italian descent.[2] He grew up in the East Flatbush and Bensonhurst neighborhoods of Brooklyn,[4] and attended Midwood High School, but did not graduate.[5] Sirico's brother, Robert Sirico, is a Catholic priest and co-founder of the free-market Acton Institute.[6] As a teenager, Sirico was shot in a dispute over a girl.[7] He subsequently served in the United States Army.[7]

Sirico was convicted of several crimes and was arrested 28 times, including for disorderly conduct, assault, and robbery, before taking up acting.[4][8] In 1967, he served time in prison for the first time as an adult.[7] On February 27, 1970, he was arrested at a restaurant, and found with a .32 caliber revolver on his person. In 1971, he was indicted for extortion, coercion, and felony weapons possession, convicted, and sentenced to four years in prison, of which he served 20 months at Sing Sing.[9][10][11]

According to a court transcript at the time of his sentencing, Sirico also had pending charges for criminal possession of a dangerous drug.[9] Sirico stated that his prison was visited by an acting troupe composed of ex-convicts, which inspired him to give acting a try.[12] He appeared in the 1989 documentary The Big Bang by James Toback, in which he discussed his earlier life.[13]


Sirico's first confirmed role in film was as an extra in the 1974 film Crazy Joe, securing the role with the help of Richard Castellano.[11] Michael Gazzo was Sirico's first acting coach.[14] Sirico played gangsters in a number of films, and made-for-TV films, including Goodfellas, Mob Queen, Mighty Aphrodite, Love and Money, Fingers, The One Man Jury, Defiance, The Last Fight, Innocent Blood, Bullets over Broadway, The Pick-up Artist, Gotti, Witness to the Mob, The Search for One-eye Jimmy, Cop Land, Turn of Faith, Hello Again, Mickey Blue Eyes, and Wonder Wheel. He also played policemen in the films Dead Presidents and Deconstructing Harry. Sirico was a close friend of Woody Allen, and appeared in seven of his films.[5]

Sirico's most acclaimed acting job was that of Paulie Gualtieri in David Chase's Emmy award-winning drama The Sopranos. He originally auditioned for the role of Uncle Junior with Frank Vincent, but Dominic Chianese landed the role. David Chase instead offered him the role of Paulie Gualtieri; Sirico agreed under the condition that his character "would not become a rat".[11]

In animation, Sirico provided the voice of "Big Daddy" Fairywinkle in The Fairly OddParents.[15] On Family Guy, he voiced the character of Vinny, who for three episodes in late 2013 was the family's pet dog, replacing Brian Griffin after his death; Brian would later be brought back via time travel.[16] Sirico also made a live-action cameo in the episode "Stewie, Chris, & Brian's Excellent Adventure", where he threatens Stewie, who had insulted Italians, calling them "ridiculous people". Vinny would return in a cameo appearance at the end of the Season 15 premiere, "The Boys in the Band".[17] Sirico would later voice characters on Seth MacFarlane's other animated series American Dad!.[1]

In 2018, he reunited with former Sopranos actors Federico Castelluccio and Vincent Pastore in Sarah Q.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Sirico (left) and James Gandolfini (right) with a member of the U.S. Air Force during a USO visit to Southwest Asia, 2010

Sirico had two children, Joanne and Richard.[19] In 2008, he released a cologne called Paolo Per Uomo.[20]

Sirico died on the afternoon of July 8, 2022, at an assisted living facility in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at the age of 79. No cause of death was given, but he had been diagnosed with dementia some years before his death.[21] Sirico's funeral mass was held at the Basilica of Regina Pacis, and he was interred at Calvary Cemetery in Queens, New York.[22][23]



Year Title Role Note
1974 Crazy Joe Extra [24]
The Godfather Part II Extra Uncredited[3]
1978 Hughes and Harlow: Angels in Hell Frankie Rio [3]
Fingers Riccamonza [4][25]
The One Man Jury Charlie "Nuts" [26]
1980 Defiance Davey [27]
1981 So Fine Associate [28]
1982 Love and Money Raoul [29]
1983 Exposed Thief [30]
The Last Fight Frankie [4]
1987 The Galucci Brothers Galucci Brother [31]
The Pick-up Artist Patsy Cabaluso [4]
Hello Again Tough Guy [27]
1989 White Hot Luke [32]
Cookie Carmine's Wiseguy [4]
The Big Bang Himself Documentary[13]
1990 Catchfire Greek Guy [33][30]
Goodfellas Tony "Stacks" [24]
1991 29th Street Fortunado [14]
1992 Innocent Blood Jacko [34]
1993 New York Cop Mr. C [35]
Romeo Is Bleeding Malacci [36]
1994 Men Lie Porno Witness [37]
Bullets Over Broadway Rocco [24]
The Search for One-eye Jimmy "Snake" [38]
1995 Dead Presidents Officer Spinelli [39]
Mighty Aphrodite Boxing Trainer [14]
Casino Extra, Nicky's Crew: Signal Happy Gambler [26]
Dearly Beloved Mr. Bedutz Short film[40]
1996 Everyone Says I Love You Escaped Convict [14]
1997 Deconstructing Harry Police Officer [39]
Cop Land Salvatore "Toy" Torillo [14]
The Deli Tony [14]
The Good Life Junior Never released[41]
1998 Mob Queen Joey "The Heart" Aorta [14]
Celebrity Lou DeMarco [14]
1999 Mickey Blue Eyes Risolli Guard [42]
2000 It Had to Be You Ricky Valentino [14]
2001 Smokin' Stogies Tony "Batts" [43]
2002 Turn of Faith Jimmy [43][44]
2008 The Sno Cone Stand Inc Bob Beasley [45]
2009 Karma Calling Lord Ganesh [43][46]
2010 Skate Skate Short film[47]
2014 Zarra's Law Tony Zarra [39]
Friends and Romans Bobby Musso [3]
Family on Board Rocco Short film[47]
2015 Touched Anthony [48]
2016 Café Society Vito [27]
2017 Wonder Wheel Angelo [43]
2018 Sarah Q Mr. Danny [27]
2022 Respect the Jux Bobby Posthumous release[27][3]
TBD Super Athlete Coach Lou Completed, posthumous release[27]


Year Title Role Notes
1977 Kojak Greek God Episode: "Case Without a File"[43]
1982 Police Squad! Poker Player Episode: "Ring of Fear (A Dangerous Assignment)"[49]
1989 Miami Vice Frank Romano Episode: "Fruit of the Poison Tree"[35]
Perfect Witness Marco Television film[28]
1992 In the Shadow of a Killer Tony Andretti Television film[28]
1996 Cosby Teddy Episode: "Happily Ever Hilton"[50]
Gotti Joe Dimiglia Television film[14]
1998 Witness to the Mob Thomas Gambino Television film[28]
Vig Locasso Television film[43]
1999–2007 The Sopranos Paul "Paulie Walnuts" Gualtieri 74 episodes[26]
2005 The Fairly OddParents Big Daddy Fairywinkle Voice[50]
Episodes: "Talking Trash" and "Big Wanda"
2007 Elmo's Christmas Countdown Famous Bert TV special[51]
2008 A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa Mobster TV special[35]
2010 Chuck Matty Episode: "Chuck Versus the Fake Name"[52]
Medium Big Daddy Episode: "Bring Your Daughter to Work Day"[52]
2012 Jersey Shore Shark Attack Captain Salie Television film[39]
2013–2014 Lilyhammer Tony Tagliano Episodes: "2.8: Ghosts" and "3.8: Loose Ends"[3]
2013 Nicky Deuce Charlie Cement Television film[27]
2013–2016 Family Guy Vinny/Himself Voice[3][27]
Episodes: "Life of Brian", "Into Harmony's Way", "Christmas Guy",
"The Boys in the Band", and "Stewie, Chris & Brian's Excellent Adventure" (live action)
2014 Taxi Brooklyn Tony Episode: "Revenge"[52]
2016 The Grinder Sebastian Episode: "Grinder v Grinder"[52]
2017–2019 American Dad! Enzo Perotti / Mobster Voice[52]
2 episodes

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2006 The Sopranos: Road to Respect Paulie "Walnuts" Gualtieri Voice[53]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2000 Screen Actors Guild Award[54] Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series The Sopranos Won
2001 Nominated
2002 Nominated
2003 Nominated
2005 Nominated
2007 Nominated
2008 Won[55]


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  2. ^ a b "Tony Sirico Biography". The Biography Channel/A+E Networks. Archived from the original on May 22, 2012. Retrieved December 16, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Gates, Anita (July 8, 2022). "Tony Sirico, an Eccentric Gangster on 'The Sopranos,' Dies at 79". The New York Times. Retrieved July 9, 2022.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Goldstein, Patrick (July 15, 1990). "A Real Tough Guy: Tony Sirico's rap sheet: 28 arrests and 27 acting jobs". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  5. ^ a b Encinas, Joshua (July 9, 2022). "Tony Sirico, the Brooklyn-born actor who played Paulie Walnuts on The Sopranos, has died". Brooklyn Magazine. Retrieved August 5, 2022.
  6. ^ "'Our Lady of Fatima' Celebrating a century of her message", Holy Family Radio. Retrieved July 7, 2020.
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  8. ^ "Artie's Goose Is Coked", New York Post, May 2, 2006
  9. ^ a b "From Sing Sing To Bada Bing!". February 25, 2001.
  10. ^ "'Sopranos' actor has real life mob history", UPI, March 20, 2006.
  11. ^ a b c "How Tony Sirico's Criminal Past Prepared Him To Play Paulie Walnuts On 'The Sopranos'". Uproxx. Christian Long. August 24, 2015. Retrieved February 23, 2018.
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  15. ^ David Perlmutter (May 4, 2018). The Encyclopedia of American Animated Television Shows. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 187. ISBN 978-1-5381-0374-6.
  16. ^ Family Guy's Shocking Death: Boss Reveals Why They Decided to Kill Off (Spoiler)!
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  18. ^ "Five 'Sopranos' stars are reuniting for this brand new movie". Shortlist. Alex Finnis. January 25, 2018. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  19. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (July 8, 2022). "Tony Sirico Dies: 'The Sopranos' Star Who Played Paulie Walnuts Was 79". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 8, 2022.
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  21. ^ Perez, Lexy; Gajewski, Ryan (July 8, 2022). "Tony Sirico, 'The Sopranos' Actor, Dies at 79". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 9, 2022.
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  23. ^ "'Paulie Walnuts' Sopranos actor is laid to rest in his native Brooklyn". Brooklyn Eagle. July 13, 2022. Retrieved July 15, 2022.
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  25. ^ Garbicz, Adam (2013). Kino wehikuł magiczny – Podróż piąta: Przewodnik osiągnięć filmu fabularnego. Podróż piąta: 1974–1981 Wersja uzupełniona i skorygowana. Planet RGB Limited. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
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  29. ^ Canby, Vincent. "Unpredictable 'Love and Money'", The New York Times. February 12, 1982. Section C, Page 8. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  30. ^ a b Gallagher, John A. (1989). Film Directors on Directing. ABC-CLIO. p. 255. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  31. ^ "Murió Tony Sirico, el inolvidable Paulie Gualtieri de The Sopranos". Tiempo Argentino (in Spanish). July 8, 2022. Retrieved July 9, 2022.
  32. ^ Del Rosario, Alexandria (July 8, 2022). "Tony Sirico, actor who played Paulie 'Walnuts' on 'The Sopranos,' dies at 79". LA Times. Retrieved July 9, 2022.
  33. ^ Maltin, Leonard (2012). Leonard Maltin's 2013 Movie Guide: The Modern Era. Penguin Books. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  34. ^ Muir, John Kenneth (2011). Horror Films of the 1990s. McFarland & Company. p. 238. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
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  36. ^ Willis, John; Monush, Barry (2000). Comprehensive Pictorial and Statistical Record of the 1994 Movie Season. Hal Leonard Corporation. Retrieved July 6, 2020.
  37. ^ Leydon, Joe. "Men Lie", Variety. May 3, 1994. Retrieved July 6, 2020.
  38. ^ Wilmington, Michael. "Premise gouges humor from promising 'One-Eye Jimmy'", Chicago Tribune. July 12, 1996. Section 7, p. N.
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  40. ^ Reid, Beverly M. "'Sopranos' cast flourishes with late blooming actors", September 5, 2002. Retrieved July 6, 2020.
  41. ^ "The wild, untold story of The Good Life". Little White Lies. February 11, 2017. Retrieved February 24, 2017.
  42. ^ Booker, M. Keith; Daraiseh, Isra (2017). Tony Soprano's America: Gangsters, Guns, and Money. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 85. Retrieved July 7, 2020.
  43. ^ a b c d e f "Tony Sirico List of Movies and TV Shows". TV Guide. Retrieved July 9, 2022.
  44. ^ George De Stefano (2007). An Offer We Can't Refuse: The Mafia in the Mind of America. Social Science. p. 363. ISBN 978-1429927628.
  45. ^ B. Alan Orange (July 23, 2007). "Tony Sirico and Morgan Fairchild Tend to The Sno Cone Stand, Inc". MovieWeb. Retrieved July 9, 2022.
  46. ^ Hu, Brian (March 14, 2009). "SFIAAFF 2009: An interview with Karma Calling director Sarba Das". University of California, Los Angeles. Retrieved July 9, 2022.
  47. ^ a b McGuire, Keegan (April 19, 2021). "What Has Tony Sirico Been Up To Ever Since The Sopranos Ended?". Looper. Retrieved July 9, 2022.
  48. ^ Murray, Bill (2015). ""Touched" - a feature film about childhood sexual abuse". National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse. Retrieved July 9, 2022.
  49. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (July 8, 2022). "Tony Sirico Dies: 'The Sopranos' Star Who Played Paulie Walnuts Was 79". Deadline. Retrieved July 9, 2022.
  50. ^ a b Dick, Jeremy (July 8, 2022). "Tony Sirico, Paulie Walnuts on The Sopranos, Dies at 79". Retrieved July 9, 2022.
  51. ^ Sesame Street: The Bert and Ernie Christmas Special with Tony Sirico and Steve Schirripa, archived from the original on November 2, 2021, retrieved October 5, 2021
  52. ^ a b c d e Lexy Perez; Ryan Gajewski (July 8, 2022). "Tony Sirico, 'The Sopranos' Actor, Dies at 79". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 9, 2022.
  53. ^ Bardhan, Ashley (November 21, 2021). "Happy anniversary, Tony Soprano". Destructoid. Retrieved July 9, 2022.
  54. ^ "SAG Awards Search". Screen Actors Guild Awards. Retrieved July 9, 2022.
  55. ^ Milliken, Mary (January 28, 2008). "SAG honours "Sopranos" after final TV season". Reuters. Retrieved July 9, 2022.

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