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Frank Albanese, who played Tony Soprano’s uncle, the retired mobster Pat Blundetto, on The Sopranos, has died. He was 84.
Albanese, who also appeared in Goodfellas (1990) and in uncredited roles in two of the three Godfather films, died Monday at a Staten Island hospice facility in New York, the website SILive.com reported.
A hard-hitting heavyweight boxer, Albanese had to give up the sport at age 19 after he suffered a brain injury. Middleweight champion Rocky Graziano (immortalized by Paul Newman in the 1956 biopic Somebody Up There Likes Me) helped get him an uncredited role in Martin Ritt’s Mafia drama The Brotherhood (1968), starring Kirk Douglas.
Albanese studied acting and appeared in Plaza Suite (1971) and in Honor Thy Father, a 1973 CBS telefilm about the Bonanno crime family. On a 1989 episode of America’s Most Wanted, he played mobster Paul Castellano, and he showed up in yet another crime film, Dead Presidents (1995).
He portrayed Tony’s (James Gandolfini) Uncle Pat, who was suffering from dementia and couldn’t remember where the bodies were buried on his farm, on four episodes of HBO’s The Sopranos between 2004 and 2007.
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