14/09/2017 07:10 BST

Frank Vincent Dead: ‘Sopranos’ And ‘Goodfellas’ Actor Dies During Open Heart Surgery, Aged 78


Veteran actor Frank Vincent, best known for his roles in ‘The Sopranos’ and ‘Goodfellas’, has died at the age of 78.

The ‘mob actor’ passed away in New Jersey following complications during open heart surgery, after suffering a heart attack last week.

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He was a favourite of director Martin Scorsese, having starred in ‘Raging Bull’ and ‘Casino’ alongside Robert De Niro in his 41-year career.

But he was perhaps best known for playing Billy Batts in Scorsese’s 1990 classic ‘Goodfellas’ and his memorable line: “Go home and get your shine box”.

His knack for playing tough guys also led to him playing mob boss Phil Leotardo - Tony Sopranos nemesis - in the US TV series ‘The Sopranos’.

Born in North Adams, Massachusetts, but raised in New Jersey, he was introduced to show business at an early age by his father, an amateur actor.

He made his acting debut in 1975 in ‘The Death Collector’ alongside Joe Pesci. It was this role that first brought him to the attention of Scorsese, who subsequently cast him in ‘Raging Bull’ in 1980.

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Other roles included parts in the the Spike Lee films ‘Do the Right Thing’ and ‘Jungle Fever’.

He also had voice roles in ‘Shark Tale’ and of Mafia boss Salvatore Leone in the ‘Grand Theft Auto III’ video game.

Many of his former co-stars and friends have paid tribute.

His ‘Sopranos’ co-star Maureen Van Zandt said: “We lost one of our family today. Frank Vincent. Wonderful actor and lovely man. Rest In Peace, Frankie.”

Fellow ‘Sopranos’ star Vincent Pastore also paid tribute, telling The Blast: “We lost a great character actor and great man... May he always stay in our memory.”

Actor Michael Rapaport shared a picture of him with Frank, writing: “Damn the Great Frank Vincent has passed Consummate NYC actor from Goodfellas, Raging Bull & Sopranos.Good guy who had a great sense of humor.”

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