UPDATED with memorial service information: Frank Vincent, the instantly recognizable actor from The Sopranos, Goodfellas and Casino with a face perhaps more familiar than his name, died today. He was 80. Sources tell Deadline that he recently had suffered a heart attack, and his prognosis was dire even as he went into surgery.
Vincent died in a New Jersey hospital during open-heart surgery, according to reports. His family issued a statement via a publicist: “Frank lived life on his terms, creating a dynamic and successful path in every endeavor he chose. His generosity and spirit extended beyond his family and closest friends, as he strived to promote new talent in the performing arts.”
Vincent played Tony Soprano’s archenemy Phil Leotardo in The Sopranos, one of his many wiseguy roles. He was Billy Batts in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas — the “made man” who famously told Joe Pesci’s Tommy DeVito to “Go home and get your f*ckin’ shinebox” — and Frank Marino in the director’s Casino. His performance with Pesci in 1976’s The Death Collector caught the attention of Robert De Niro and Scorsese, and the director offered Vincent a supporting role in Raging Bull.
Among his many credits, Vincent appeared in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing and Jungle Fever and played a detective in the 2008 indie The Tested. He had a cameo role in 2009’s Stargate Atlantis.
Born Frank Vincent Gattuso in North Adams, MA, on April 15, 1937, he was raised in Jersey City, NJ. He was the author of the 2006 book A Guy’s Guide to Being a Man’s Man.
According to his official website, Vincent spent his adolescence playing and traveling with various national championship drum and bugle corps, then began playing nightclubs in a small combo. He became a successful recording drummer for Don Costa, Paul Anka, Del Shannon, Trini Lopez and the Belmonts, and made his feature film acting debut in Ralph DeVito’s 1975 Death Collector.
Scorsese later cast him in 1980’s Raging Bull, with Do The Right Thing, Jungle Fever and Casino following. As Billy Batts in Goodfellas, Vincent delivered the “shine box” line that would become one of the film’s most memorable moments.
Vincent also did voice work: He was Don Salvatore Leone in the video game franchise Grand Theft Auto, and was a great white shark in DreamWorks’ Shark Tale.
Just a small sampling of his other film and TV credits include Copland, NYPD Blue, Law & Order, This Thing of Ours and Spy. His IMDb page lists an upcoming 2018 film, Asbury Park, which also includes his old pal and costar Pesci.
Vincent was among The Sopranos cast when the show received the 2008 SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.
He is survived by his wife, Katherine; daughters Debra and Maria; son Anthony; grandchildren Tori and TJ; and siblings Nick, Jim and Fran.
A memorial service will be held at 6:30 PM Saturday at Caggiano Memorial Home in Montclair, NJ. Visiting hours will be 2:30-6:30 PM. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations be made to a charity of choice.
News of Vincent’s death was first reported by the website The Blast.