Rest in peace, Frank Vincent. The actor, most known for starring on The Sopranos and in Goodfellas, sadly died in a New Jersey hospital during open heart surgery on Wednesday, Sept. 13, TMZ has revealed. He was 78 years old.
According to the entertainment news outlet, Frank suffered a heart attack last week and underwent open heart surgery earlier today before passing away. Director John Gallagher, who worked with Frank in Street Hunter and The Deli, later took to Facebook to confirm the news of his friend’s death.
“Another devastating loss — my close friend and colleague of 30 years Frank Vincent has left us. I vividly remember the first time I saw him… To me he was an instant star. The last few years had been trying for Frank, a guy who devoured life, saddled with a series of health issues… 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… See ya on the other side, love always JG,” he wrote on the social media site.
Frank in 2006.
Throughout his more than 40 years in showbiz, Frank played many notoriously tough characters and starred in several movies about the mafia. His most famous part was as Tony Soprano’s rival, Phil Leotardo, on HBO’s hit crime drama The Sopranos. In addition to his memorable Goodfellas role, Frank has also appeared in popular movies including Raging Bull, Wise Guys, Do the Right Thing, Jungle Fever, and Casino. His final acting role was in a 2016 episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
In a 2012 interview, Frank revealed he was fine with the way he’d been typecast in Hollywood. “They need a gangster, they call Frank… An Italian-American? Frank… I’m currently starring in a string of Miller Beer commercials where I am playing a gangster. It is who you are. You are a writer, reporter. That is what you do. … When I was 18 years old and playing the drums, I never thought that I would have a website and that people will be buying my autographed picture and paying money for it. I just bought a condo in Florida. Life is good. I can’t complain,” he told NJ.com. Our thoughts are with Frank’s family and friends during this difficult time.