Frank Vincent, ‘The Sopranos’ Star, Dead At 78
Frank Vincent, a character actor known for his many tough-guy roles in television and film, has passed away at the age of 78.
Vincent, who played mob boss Phil Leotardo on HBO’s The Sopranos, passed away following complications from heart surgery in New Jersey on Wednesday. According to TMZ, Vincent suffered a heart attack last week and underwent an open-heart surgery as a result. The actor died during the procedure.
Vincent’s Sopranos character, Phil Leotardo, was a rival of Tony Soprano’s throughout the series. The character appeared in more than 30 episodes before being eventually killed off by Tony’s men in the series finale. Leotardo wasn’t the first Mafia character played by Vincent. Vincent appeared in Martin Scorsese’s GoodFellas (1990) where he played Billy Batts, a made man in the Gambino crime family and Casino (1995) where he played gangster Frank Marino, a character based off of real-life Frank Cullotta.
Vincent appeared in over fifty movies and has been acknowledged with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Back East Picture Show. In 1975, he made his feature film acting debut in Ralph DeVito’s Death Collector, where Scorsese first spotted him. Vincent also had small roles in two Spike Lee films, Do the Right Thing and Jungle Fever. Vincent also appeared in The Pope of Greenwich Village, Last Exit to Brooklyn, Night Falls on Manhattan and Shark Tale.
In addition to The Sopranos, Vincent made small-screen appearances on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, NYPD Blue and Walker, Texas Ranger.
Vincent’s talents weren’t limited to just acting. In 2006, Vincent published A Guy’s Guide to Being a Man’s Man. He also was an accomplished drummer and lent his voice to several video games including Grand Theft Auto.
Frank Vincent is survived by his wife, Katherine; daughters Debra and Maria; son Anthony; two grandchildren; and three siblings.