Gangster of ‘The Sopranos’ Tony Sirico Dies at 79
Actor Tony Sirico, who played eccentric gangster Pauly Walnuts on “The Sopranos,” died Friday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He is 79 years old. Actor Tony Sirico’s manager Bob McGowan confirmed Tony Sirico’s death. No exact reason was identified.
Paulie Walnuts – this is Paul Gualtieri’s nickname because he once hijacked a truck full of nuts (he was expecting television sets) – is one of mob boss Tony Soprano’s most loyal, hypersensitive, and reckless men.
Paulie is the kind of guy who attends drug addiction mediation and when it’s his turn to speak, punch the guy in the face. He loved his mother (even when he found out she was really his aunt), and she loved him because he wrote checks to put her in an expensive nursing home.
Paulie wore tracksuits, slept with hookers, was terrified of germs, hated cats, and watched television in a chair covered in plastic. He hated being stuck with a nearly $900 restaurant check but could appreciate a tasty ketchup packet when there was nothing else to eat on a cold night in the Pine Barrens.
When the “Sopranos” cast appeared in a group shot on the cover of Rolling Stone in 2001, Pauly stood casually swinging a baseball bat over his right shoulder. No hairdresser was allowed to touch Mr. Sirico’s hair on the “Sopranos” set – dark and luxurious with two silver “wings” on both sides. He dried and sprayed it himself.
Mr. Sirico’s face was familiar at a quick glance to fans of Woody Allen movies. He appeared in several of them, starting with “Bullets Over Broadway” (1994), in which he played the right-hand man of a powerful gangster as a theater producer. In “Mighty Aphrodite”, Tony Sirico was a boxing trainer movie which was released in 1995, in “Everyone Says I Love You” (1996) movie acted as an escaped convict, and a prison cop in “Deconstructing Harry” (1997) and a gun-toting cop. A pirate at Coney Island in “Wonder Wheel” (2017).
Gennaro Anthony Sirico Jr. was born in Brooklyn on July 29, 1942, the son of stevedore Jerry Sirico and Mary (Cappelluzzo) Sirico. Junior, as he was called, recalled that he first got into trouble when he stole nickels from a newsstand. Sirico completed his Midwood High School. He did not complete his graduation, said his brother Robert Sirico.