With Hollywood already mourning one major acting legend, another star has been lost as The Sopranos‘ Paulie actor Tony Sirico has died at age 79. Paulie “Walnuts” Gualtieri was one of the main cast members of the acclaimed HBO crime drama and served as one of the chief soldiers of Tony Soprano’s mob organization. As The Sopranos would progress, Paulie would rise through the rank to become a caporegime, better known as a capo, who leads their own crew of soldiers.
Prior to starring in The Sopranos, Sirico would make a name for himself with roles such as Martin Scorsese’s classics Goodfellas and Casino, Gotti and Cop Land. Sirico was also a frequent collaborator of Woody Allen beginning in the ’90s, making appearances in 1994’s Bullets Over Broadway, Mighty Aphrodite, Everyone Says I Love You, Deconstructing Harry, Celebrity, Café Society and Wonder Wheel. Though having a handful of roles coming up, it appears audiences won’t be getting the opportunity to see more of Sirico in the near future.
Deadline has brought word that The Sopranos‘ Paulie actor Tony Sirico has died at the age of 79. At the time of writing no cause of death was provided, but sources close to the star report that he has been in failing health for the past several years and that he passed away at an assisted living facility in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Sirico’s family wrote about his death in the following statement:
“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.”
Though he may not have scored any major awards nominations for his part in the series, Tony Sirico’s turn as Paulie in The Sopranos was highly acclaimed by critics and audiences alike, making him a fan-favorite character in an already large roster of celebrated performers. Between his frequent wise cracks, bizarre beliefs and self-centered nature, save for his loyalty to James Gandolfini’s Tony, audiences frequently tuned in to watch as Paulie tried to climb the mobster ladder. With performances in Goodfellas and Casino, amongst a variety of other titles, Sirico was considered one of the greatest actors in the gangster genre.
The Sopranos‘ Tony Sirico marks the second major acting death this week, as well as the latest of iconic stars from the gangster genre. This past Wednesday saw the death of The Godfather and Elf star James Caan at the age of 82 while this past May brought news of Ray Liotta’s passing at 67, the latter of whom even starred in The Sopranos prequel movie The Many Saints of Newark, where Billy Magnussen took over the role of Paulie from Sirico. Audiences can revisit Sirico’s tenure as Paulie in The Sopranos and work with Scorsese for Goodfellas streaming on HBO Max now.