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Frank Vincent, who played the vicious mob boss Phil Leotardo on The Sopranos, has died. He was 80.
Vincent also portrayed tough guys for director Martin Scorsese in Raging Bull (1980), Goodfellas (1990) — as the real-life Gambino gangster Billy Batts, he with the memorable line, “Go home and get your shine box!” — and Casino (1995).
On HBO’s The Sopranos, Leotardo often butted heads with James Gandolfini’s Tony Soprano as he eventually rose to become boss of the Lupertazzi crime family.
“He didn’t fool around. Phil was serious,” Vincent said in a 2011 interview. “He had a job to do and he thought, you know, ‘This Soprano guy is from Jersey, what does that mean? We are New Yorkers! The Jersey mob is nothing — they don’t even prick their fingers when they do the ceremony.’ Some of the writing for Phil was just brilliant.”
His film résumé also included The Pope of Greenwich Village (1984), Brian De Palma’s Wise Guys (1986), Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing (1989) and Jungle Fever (1991), Sidney Lumet’s Night Falls on Manhattan (1996), James Mangold’s Cop Land (1997), Shark Tale (2004) and Chicago Overcoat (2009).
Vincent also appeared in Hype Williams’ Belly (1998) and served as the official acting coach to rappers DMX, Nas and Method Man on the film.
A native of North Adams, Mass., Vincent was raised in Jersey City, N.J. and became a drummer, performing with the likes of Paul Anka, Del Shannon, Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme and Trini Lopez and the Belmonts.
Vincent played a gambler who gets killed by the mob in The Death Collector (1976) — the film starred Joe Pesci, a pal who helped get him the role — then was cast alongside Pesci and Robert De Niro as Salvi in the iconic boxing movie Raging Bull. In that film, Vincent’s character is beaten up in the Copacabana by Pesci’s Joey LaMotta.
In 2006, Vincent co-wrote the book A Guy’s Guide to Being a Man’s Man.
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