The role of Peter Paul Gualtieri, a.k.a. “Paulie Walnuts,” that Tony Sirico played on the HBO television series “The Sopranos” made him a household name in the United States. Tony Sirico was valued at $8 million when he passed away in July 2022.
The Sopranos featured Tony in 86 episodes. Additionally, he has made appearances in a number of Woody Allen-directed movies, such as Bullets Over Broadway, Mighty Aphrodite, Deconstructing Harry, and Café Society. “The Pick-up Artist,” “Goodfellas,” and “Innocent Blood” are a few of Sirico’s further cinematic credits.
What Roles Did Tony Sirico Play?
The late actor, who passed away in July 2022 at the age of 79, landed his first paid role in the 1974 movie Crazy Joe. Tony kept up his acting and got roles as gangsters in a number of movies, such as Goodfellas, Mob Queen, Mighty Aphrodite, Love and Money, Fingers, The One Man Jury, Defiance, The Last Fight, Innocent Blood, Bullets over Broadway, The Pick-up Artist, Gotti, The Search for One-eye Jimmy, Cop Land, Turn of Faith, Hello Again, Mickey Blue Eyes, and Wonder Wheel.
Early Criminal Life
On July 29, 1942, in New York City, Gennaro Anthony Sirico Jr. was given the name Tony Sirico. Robert, his brother, is a priest in the Catholic Church. Sirico was raised in Brooklyn’s East Flatbush and Bensonhurst districts.
He committed a lot of crimes in his early life, leading to 28 arrests for things including robbery, assault, and disorderly conduct. In 1971, Sirico had a particularly bad encounter with the authorities when he was charged with coercion, extortion, and felony firearm possession and given a four-year jail sentence.
In the end, he spent 20 months at Sing Sing serving his sentence. A visiting ex-convict performing company gave Sirico the motivation to pursue acting while he was incarcerated.
Career In Television
In a 1977 episode of the crime drama “Kojak,” Tony Sirico made his debut on television. The next time he appeared on television was in an episode of “Police Squad!” in 1982. Sirico appeared in the television movies “Perfect Witness” and “In the Shadow of a Killer” after yet another protracted absence. In the late 1990s, he continued to perform in television movies, making appearances in “Gotti,” “Witness to the Mob,” and “Vig.”
In The Sopranos
The HBO crime series “The Sopranos,” which premiered in 1999, gave Sirico his largest and most well-known part. He portrayed Tony Soprano’s main henchman Paul Gualtieri, also known as “Paulie Walnuts,” who was portrayed by James Gandolfini.
Sirico first went in for the role of Uncle Junior, but when Dominic Chianese was selected in the earlier position, Sirico was given the part of Gualtieri. He continued to appear on the program until its cancellation in 2007, during which time he and his other cast members shared two SAG Awards for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.
Following The Sopranos
After “The Sopranos” ended, Sirico appeared in the television special “A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa” as a gangster. Then he made more appearances in “Chuck” and “Medium” episodes. 2012’s “Jersey Shore Shark Attack” was a television movie in which Sirico portrayed Captain Sale.
He then appeared as Tony Tagliano in two episodes of the crime drama “Lilyhammer” and reconnected with James Gandolfini and Michael Imperioli, who he had previously worked with on “The Sopranos,” for the Nickelodeon television movie “Nicky Deuce.” Among his other famous jobs, Sirico provided the voice of Vinny, the cartoon sitcom “Family Guy’s” substitute dog for Brian. In the animated series “American Dad!” he also provided the voice of a gangster.
Sirico made his acting debut in the 1974 crime movie “Crazy Joe” as an extra. He thereafter became known as a top choice for mobster roles. In movies including “Fingers,” “The One Man Jury,” “Defiance,” “Love and Money,” “The Pick-up Artist,” “Hello Again,” “Goodfellas,” “Innocent Blood,” “The Search for One-eye Jimmy,” “Cop Land,” “Mob Queen,” “Mickey Blue Eyes,” and “Turn of Faith,” Sirico has portrayed criminals over the years.
In addition, Sirico has had notable appearances in a number of Woody Allen-directed movies, including “Bullets Over Broadway,” “Mighty Aphrodite,” “Everyone Says I Love You,” “Deconstructing Harry,” “Celebrity,” “Café Society,” and “Wonder Wheel.”
The erotic comedy “So Fine,” the drama “Exposed,” the romantic action thriller “Catchfire,” the dramedy “29th Street,” and the crime thriller “Romeo is Bleeding” are just a few of Sirico’s other notable film roles. Additionally, he played a notable police officer in the 1995 film “Dead Presidents.”
Sirico afterward had an appearance in the comedies “Friends and Romans” and the police drama “Zarra’s Law” in 2014. His subsequent roles include “Sarah Q,” in which he co-stars with Vincent Pastore and Federico Castelluccio from the cast of “The Sopranos,” as well as “Respect the Jux” and “Super Athlete.”
Legal Issues Tony Sirico Had Before Becoming an Actor
Sirico grew up in the Brooklyn, East Flatbush, and Bensonhurst districts of New York City. Catholic priest Robert Sirico is his brother. Approximately 28 arrests and charges, including disorderly conduct, assault, and robbery, were made against Tony prior to beginning his acting career. In February 1970, he was taken into custody at a restaurant while carrying a.32 caliber handgun. In 1971, Sirico was found guilty of extortion, coercion, and felony firearm possession; he received a four-year jail term.
Tony Sirico’s Cause Of Death
On July 8, 2022, Tony passed away, and In Touch has confirmed. Tony was an ex-army veteran, a devoted patron for 25 years, and a member of the Wounded Warriors, according to his manager, Bob McGowan, who speaks to In Touch.
James Gandolfini’s son, Michael Gandolfini, addressed the news of his father’s passing on Instagram. “Tony Sirico was one of the kindest, most devoted, and most sincere persons I’ve ever encountered. To me, he was always Uncle Tony, and he never failed to show up for my family and me.
The young actor added, “I’ll really miss his pinches on my face and his contagious giggle. He was an excellent performer who was also a great person. Tony was a rare individual. My heart goes out to his family, his friends, and all of his followers since he affected so many people with his talent.