The Sopranos actor Tony Sirico, known for his role as Paulie ‘Walnuts’, dies at the age of 79, his family confirms | Ents & Arts News

Soprano actor Tony Sirico has died aged 79, his family has announced.

Sirico starred as Paulie ‘Walnuts’ Gualtieri on the popular HBO show, appearing across all six seasons.

He died Friday morning, according to a Facebook post from his brother Robert.

Steve Van Zandt, James Gandolfini and Tony Sirico in The Sopranos. Photo: Barry Wetcher/Hbo/Kobal/Shutterstock

The post read: “It is with great sadness, but incredible pride, love and many fond memories that the family of Gennaro Anthony ‘Tony’ Sirico would like to inform you of his passing on the morning of July 8th. 2022 .

“The family is deeply grateful for the many expressions of love, prayer and condolences and asks the public to respect their privacy during this time of grief. »

Sirico’s Sopranos co-star Michael Imperioli described him as a “dear friend, colleague and partner in crime”.

The actor wrote on Instagram: “It pains me to say that my dear friend, colleague and accomplice, the great Tony Sirico 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. »

Sirico was born in 1942 and grew up in Brooklyn.

In a 2001 interview with Rolling Stone, he said he was attracted to gangsters he saw in his neighborhood.

He said: “They are all dressed up, slicked back, they have cars, they have girls, very attractive.

“I almost made a huge mistake. I was almost too close to becoming one of those guys I represent. »

As an actor, Sirico found himself playing the very men he admired in his youth.

“And do I mind being stereotyped? “Absolutely not,” he told Rolling Stone in the same interview.

“I paid my rent, I take care of myself and my mom. »

Sirico’s manager, Bob McGowan, told the PA news agency that he “had nothing to do with his character in The Sopranos”.

“He was a very loyal customer for 25 years, he’s a former army vet and he’s always donated to charity.

“He is a big contributor to the Wounded Warriors and would always go to children’s hospitals. »

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