The Sopranos Phil Leotardo Actor, Frank Vincent, Dies At Age 78

He also played many memorable mobsters for director Martin Scorsese.

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Frank Vincent — known for playing mobsters in The Sopranos and many of Martin Scorsese's biggest films — has died at age 78.

Vincent passed away in a New Jersey hospital following complications from open heart surgery on Wednesday (13 September), according to TMZ. He'd reportedly suffered a heart attack days earlier.

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Despite building his career on playing New York and New Jersey mob figures, the actor was actually born in the relatively small community of North Adams, Massachusetts.

Vincent's breakthrough came courtesy of Robert De Niro apparently personally recommending him to Martin Scorsese for the role of local hood Salvy in the Academy Award-winning Raging Bull after seeing him in gangster flick The Death Collector.

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He'd continue playing small-time mobsters for Scorsese in Goodfellas and Casino — perhaps most memorably getting whacked in Goodfellas' infamous shinebox scene. Watch a NSFW clip below:

His extensive usage by Scorsese later led in turn to him playing New York crime boss Phil Leotardo in the final seasons of The Sopranos, a role that earned him a Screen Actors Guild Award.

The short-tempered, vicious Phil Leotardo rose through the ranks of the Lupertazzi family to wage a New York-New Jersey crime war with Tony Soprano that ultimately cost Phil his life, in yet another brutal death scene.

Throughout his 40-year career, Frank Vincent also memorably appeared in Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing and Jungle Fever, Brian De Palma's mafia comedy Wise Guys, '90s crime thriller Cop Land and voiced a menacing Great White in animated hit Shark Tale.

Back in 2013, he also authored the self-help book A Guy's Guide to Being a Man's Man, which was at one time developed as a feature film.

From: Digital Spy