Sopranos star Tony Sirico – known as Paulie Walnuts – has died aged 79, says his co-star Michael Imperioli

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Sopranos star Tony Sirico – best known for playing Paulie Walnuts – has died aged 79, co-star Michael Imperioli says: ‘He was loved and will never be forgotten’

  • Her co-star Michael Imperioli revealed the sad news with an Instagram post on Friday putting the two together
  • The 56-year-old actor – who portrayed Christopher Moltisanti in the iconic HBO series – wrote: ‘It pains me to say that my dear friend, colleague and partner in crime, the great TONY SIRICO passed away today’
  • The cause of death for the American actor – born Gennaro Anthony Sirico Jr. – has yet to be revealed
  • Imperioli worked closely with Sirico as Christopher was put in charge of Paulie’s team when he was promoted to underboss on the show.
  • Sirico’s character, Paulie, was one of the main henchmen of series protagonist Tony Soprano, played by the late James Gandolfini.
  • Sirico was born in Brooklyn and, as a teenager, was part of a real street gang. He has previously been seen associating with the Colombo Caporegime family Jimmy ‘Green Eyes’ Clemenza, along with fellow Sopranos actor Vincent Pastor
  • He served time in prison for theft and possession of felony weapons before deciding to try acting after being visited by a gang of reformed convicts behind bars.
  • After The Sopranos, he made appearances in Medium and Lilyhammer and voiced characters in Family Guy and American Dad!
  • He also reprized his soprano role in the prequel film The Many Saints of Newark, released last year.
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Tony Sirico – who is best known for playing Peter Paul ‘Paulie Walnuts’ Gualtieri on The Sopranos – has died aged 79.

Her co-star Michael Imperioli revealed the sad news with an Instagram post on Friday putting the two together.

The 56-year-old actor – who played Christopher Moltisanti in the iconic HBO series – wrote: It pains me to say that my dear friend, colleague and partner in crime, the great TONY SIRICO passed away today.

‘He was loved and will never be forgotten’: Tony Sirico – who is best known for playing Peter Paul ‘Paulie Walnuts’ Gualtieri on The Sopranos – has died aged 79 according to his co-star Michael Imperioli

Iconic: Steven Van Zandt, James Gandolfini and Tony Sirico are seen from left to right in The Sopranos season 7 in 2007

Iconic: Steven Van Zandt, James Gandolfini and Tony Sirico are seen from left to right in The Sopranos season 7 in 2007

“Tony was like no one else: he was as tough, as loyal and as big-hearted as anyone I’ve ever known. I was by his side through so much: through the good times and the bad. But mostly good. And we laughed a lot.

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The cause of death for the American actor – born Gennaro Anthony Sirico Jr. – has yet to be revealed.

TAUT.com has contacted Sirico representatives for comment.

Caption: The cause of death of the American actor - born Gennaro Anthony Sirico Jr. - has yet to be revealed, Sirico is seen at SopranosCon in New Jersey in November 2019

Caption: The cause of death of the American actor – born Gennaro Anthony Sirico Jr. – has yet to be revealed, Sirico is seen at SopranosCon in New Jersey in November 2019

Gone too soon: Sirico's character, Paulie, was one of the main henchmen of the series' protagonist, Tony Soprano, played by the late James Gandolfini.  They are seen in the series in March 2006.

Gone too soon: Sirico’s character, Paulie, was one of the main henchmen of the series’ protagonist, Tony Soprano, played by the late James Gandolfini. They are seen in the series in March 2006.

Imperioli worked closely with Sirico as Christopher was put in charge of Paulie’s team when he was promoted to underboss on the show.

Imperioli wrote, “We found a rhythm as Christopher and Paulie and I’m proud to say I did a lot of my best and funniest work with my dear friend Tony. I will miss him forever. He is truly irreplaceable.

“Sending love to his family, friends and many fans. He was loved and will never be forgotten. Heartbroken today. #thesopranos #hbo #tonysirico #pauliewalnuts’

Sirico’s character, Paulie, was one of the main henchmen of series protagonist Tony Soprano, played by the late James Gandolfini.

Paulie ‘Walnuts’ Gualtieri was as vicious as he was paranoid, often dealing blows to his boss’ enemies and disloyal friends.

His loyalty to Tony – and his murderous temper – saw him rise through the ranks to become the underboss of the DiMeo crime family.

Sirico was born in Brooklyn and, as a teenager, was part of a real street gang. He has previously been seen associating with the Colombo family Caporegime Jimmy ‘Green Eyes’ Clemenza, as well as soprano actor Vincent Pastore.

The Wise Men: Steven R. Schirripa, Michael Imperioli, James Gandolfini (1961-2013), Steven Van Zandt and Tony Sirico are pictured from left to right in a promotional photo from The Sopranos season 7 released in 2007

The Wise Men: Steven R. Schirripa, Michael Imperioli, James Gandolfini (1961-2013), Steven Van Zandt and Tony Sirico are pictured from left to right in a promotional photo from The Sopranos season 7 released in 2007

He served time in prison for theft and possession of felony weapons before deciding to try acting after being visited by a gang of reformed convicts behind bars.

He first tried out for the role of Junior, but was persuaded to take Paulie on one condition: the character would never become a snitch.

After The Sopranos, he made appearances in Medium and Lilyhammer and voiced characters in Family Guy and American Dad!

He also reprized his role as The Sopranos in the prequel film The Many Saints of Newark, released last year.

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