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Ricky Jay’s last acting role was, perhaps fittingly, on a show about con artists.
The renowned magician and actor, who died Saturday, will appear on the third season of the Amazon drama Sneaky Pete. The show is about an ex-con (Giovanni Ribisi) who assumes the identity of his former cellmate (Ethan Embry) in an effort to escape his former life.
Jay signed on to recur in season three as a character named T.H. Vignetti and was still working on the series at the time of his death. The character will be written out, as a source tells The Hollywood Reporter that the show’s writers are “adjusting the creative” in the wake of the actor’s death but have not yet settled on a way to do that. (Details about Jay’s character are being kept under wraps.)
“It is profoundly sad for us to realize that our colleague and friend, Ricky Jay, passed away suddenly last weekend,” Sneaky Pete producers Sony Pictures Television and distributor Amazon said in a joint statement. “He brought such a clever and fun energy to our show. Our entire cast and crew mourn his loss and share our deepest sympathies with his family.”
Jay’s part on Sneaky Pete was his first acting role since the 2015 indie film The Automatic Hate. He frequently collaborated with David Mamet, most recently on his CBS drama The Unit, and worked with Paul Thomas Anderson on Boogie Nights and Magnolia.
Jay and partner Michael Weber also consulted on dozens of movie and TV projects that involved magic and con games through their company Deceptive Practices. That name also is part of the title of a 2012 documentary, Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay.
The third season of Sneaky Pete, with Blake Masters (Brotherhood, Falling Water) taking over as showrunner from Graham Yost, is currently in production. A premiere date has yet to be determined.
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