Frank Pellegrino, 'Sopranos' Star and Restaurateur, Dies at 72

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Frank Pellegrino

Pellegrino played FBI Chief Frank Cubitoso on the iconic HBO crime drama and was co-owner of New York restaurant Rao's.

Frank Pellegrino, the Sopranos actor-cum-restaurateur, died Tuesday in New York after a battle with lung cancer. He was 72. 

The native New Yorker had several notable film and television roles in an acting career that spanned over 25 years including Goodfellas (where he played racketeer Johnny Dio), Cop Land, Mickey Blue Eyes and multiple episodes of Law & Order.

Pellegrino's most famous role, however, was playing dogged FBI Chief Frank Cubitoso on HBO crime drama The Sopranos who heads the agency's strategy in the long-running Soprano/DiMeo case. 

As well as acting, Pellegrino was a well-known personality in the New York restaurant industry. He co-owned the famed Italian restaurant Rao's in East Harlem, founded in 1896, that has been frequented by the likes of Jay-Z, Jimmy Fallon, Martin Scorsese and Woody Allen and has been featured in numerous Hollywood films including The Wolf of Wall Street.

Pellegrino also published several cookery books based on Rao's cuisine and opened sister restaurants in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. 

Bo Dietl, Pellegrino's close friend and a New York mayoral candidate, on Tuesday told Page Six: “We lost a part of New York today when we lost Frankie. There’s nobody like him, he’s an icon.”

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