In the early 2000s, HBO fans flocked to their television sets to watch the award-winning series The Sopranos. The crime drama, which ran from 1999-007, follows family patriarch and high-profile mobster Tony Soprano as he tries to balance his home and his life of crime. While the show was praised for its raw storylines and outstanding production value, viewers and critics also praised its talented actors.
One of the series’ standout stars was Tony Sirico, who played Tony Soprano’s trusty henchman, Paulie “Walnuts” Gualtieri. For six seasons, the popular actor delivered unforgettable comedies and moments that left a lasting impression on pop culture enthusiasts. In addition to his work as The Sopranos, Sirico has also landed other roles in similar gangster projects such as Goodfellas, Love and Money and Mob Queen. In a 2001 interview with Rolling Stone, the actor shared his thoughts on being typecast in mob-inspired roles, saying, “And do I mind being stereotyped? Absolutely not. I paid rent, I take care of me and Ma.”
Unfortunately, fans were saddened on July 8 when Variety confirmed that Sirico had passed away at the age of 79. In a statement to the publication, the actor’s manager, Bob McGowan, described the beloved talent as “a very loyal and amazing client.” He noted how he always helped people in need. Since news of his passing, Sirico’s industry peers and fans have taken to social media to pay a heartfelt tribute.
Honors roll in for Tony Sirico after his death
Shortly after the news of Tony Sirico’s death, fans flocked to social media to pay a heartfelt tribute to the beloved actor. One fan wrote: “This hurts man rest in peace Tony Sirico one of the biggest characters on TV you will live on through Paulie.” Another fan tweeted: “Hope he and James Gandolfini chase interior designers in the next life .” Fans weren’t the only ones praising the actor on social media. Sirico’s “Sopranos” co-stars Michael Imperioli and Lorraine Bracco also shared heartwarming posts about their time with the actor.
“We found a groove as Christopher and Paulie and I’m proud to say I’ve done a lot of my best and funniest work with my dear pal Tony,” Imperioli wrote via Instagram. “He was loved and will never be forgotten.” Bracco echoed similar sentiments in her own post. “I adore Tony Sirico. A genuine guy who always had my back and who loved my kids and my parents.” She continued that she had “a lifetime of memories” with Sirico, adding, “I hope he’s in heaven and making everyone laugh now. I love you my mate.”
The acclaimed talent is survived by his two children and their extended families.