Geno Silva, Actor in 'Scarface,' Dies at 72

Geno Silva 2 - H Publicity 2020
Courtesy of the Silva family

His hitman character disposes of Pacino's Tony Montana in the Brian De Palma classic.

Geno Silva, the character actor perhaps best known for playing The Skull, the hitman who takes out Al Pacino's Tony Montana in the explosive climax of Scarface, has died. He was 72.

Silva died May 9 at his home in Los Angeles of complications from frontotemporal degeneration, a form of dementia, his family announced.

During his four-decade career, Silva also could be seen in Luis Valdez's Zoot Suit (1981) — he was in the 1979 Broadway production opposite Edward James Olmos — Robert Towne's Tequila Sunrise (1988); Steven Spielberg's Amistad and The Lost World: Jurassic Park, both released in 1997; David Lynch's Mulholland Drive (2001); and F. Gary Gray's A Man Apart (2003).

On television, he was a regular on the 1993 Fox drama Key West and appeared on episodes of Hill Street Blues; Miami Vice; Walker, Texas Ranger; Star Trek: Enterprise; and Alias.

In Scarface (1983), his foreboding character never speaks a word while he guns down Montana with a shotgun from behind at the end of the Brian De Palma-directed classic. One poll placed The Skull No. 7 on a list of the best henchmen in movie history.

Born on Jan. 20, 1948, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Silva also was a veteran of the stage. In 1994, he appeared with Philip Seymour Hoffman and John Ortiz in The Merchant of Venice, a Peter Sellars production that played Chicago, London, Paris and Hamburg, Germany; in 1999, he and Ortiz worked off-Broadway in Sueño, written by future Oscar nominee Jose Rivera (The Motorcycle Diaries).

Survivors include his wife, Pamela; daughter Lucia; grandchildren Eva and Levon; and sister Elizabeth. Donations in his memory may be made to The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration.