The Sopranos actor Frank Vincent has died at age 78.
Friends and fans have flocked to social media to comment on Vincent’s passing, including film director Umberto Gonzalez, filmmaker John Gallagher, actor Brian O’Halloran.
Little is known about Vincent’s death at this time. This post will be updated with more information as it becomes available.
Here’s what we know:
1. He Reportedly Died During Open-Heart Surgery on Wednesday
TMZ reports that Vincent suffered a heart attack last week, and underwent open heart surgery at a hospital in New Jersey on Wednesday. He died during surgery.
Filmmaker John Gallagher went to Facebook to post about Vincent’s death, writing, “I could write a book about my times with Frank, all beautiful joyous memories, but today in our grief thoughts race to his beloved wife Kathy and his grown children. Requiescat in pace FV, see ya on the other side, love always JG.”
2. He Played Phil Leotardo in ‘The Sopranos’
In The Sopranos, Vincent played Phil Leotardo, Tony’s nemesis.
Fellow Sopranos actor Vincent Pastore informed friends of Vincent’s death, according to The Blast. The email reportedly read: “I just received a phone call that frank vincent has passed away… ill let all know about the services…we lost a great character actor and great man ..may he always stay in our memory.” Pastore also took to Facebook to mourn Vincent’s loss.
Vincent was born in North Adams, Massachusetts, to first generation Italian-American parents. His interested in the arts developed at a young age– as a boy, Vincent played a number of instruments, including the piano, trumpet, and drums. He also acted in school plays at St. Paul’s grammar school.
Talented on the drums, Vincent became a successful recording drummer for artists like Don Costa, Paul Anka, Del Shannon, Trini Lopez, and The Belmonts. His acting debut came in 1975, in the Ralph DeVito’s “Death Collector”.
3. He Appeared in a Handful of Martin Scorsese Films
The actor was known for his roles in Martin Scorsese films like Raging Bull, Goodfellas, and Casino. Most recently, he played the role of Bishop Cattalano on Law & Order: SVU. He was first cast by Scorsese in 1980, and went on to display his range as an actor in projects like Do The Right Thing and Jungle Fever.
4. His Career Spanned over Four Decades
In 2011, Vincent was interviewed by Men’s Fitness, and discussed his career, which began at just 5-years-old. Asked what the highlight of his career had been at that point, he said: “I guess that The Sopranos is and Goodfellas. That’s the one that most people recognize me or know me from and Sopranos is now picking up some of that slack. I guess you could say that the two of those are my two big highlights.”
In 2002, Frank received a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Back East Picture Show at the Hoboken Film Festival. He was awarded the Italian-American Entertainment of the Year Award that same year. His other awards include a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Garden State Film Festival, the Honorary Branford Fellow from Yale University, and a Best Supporting Actor Award at the International Film and Screenplay Festival. In 2008, he took home the SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series for The Sopranos.
Asked what’s the biggest lesson he’s learned from his time in the business, Vincent said:
The biggest lesson probably would be to have a little humility and to realize that people are people and that everyone’s different. People approach you in a different way when you’re a celebrity—some are nice, some are not nice.
5. His Son Is a Stuntman on ‘Person of Interest’
Vincent’s son, Tony, works as a stuntman. He doubles for Jim Caviezel on Person of Interest, and his other credits include The Detour, Homeland, Bull, This Is Us, and Mr. Robot.
Vincent had two children and was married twice, according to The New York Times. His second wife, Kathy, is pictured in the photo above.