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‘Sopranos’ and ‘Goodfellas’ Actor Frank Pellegrino Dies at 72

Variety logo Variety 2/1/2017 Seth Kelley
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Frank Pellegrino, known as FBI chief Frank Cubitoso on HBO’s “The Sopranos” and a New York City restaurateur, has died following a battle with lung cancer. He was 72.

One of Pellegrino’s first acting roles, in what would become a career of appearances in gangster-related cinema, came in 1990 as Johnny Dio in “Goodfellas.” His character on “The Sopranos” ran for eleven episodes during which he attempted to uncover dirt to help in the Soprano/DiMeo case. Pellegrino also appeared in several episodes of “Law & Order.” His other credits include “Cop Land,” “Mickey Blue Eyes,” “Manhattan Murder Mystery” and, most recently, a guest spot on the TV series “Odd Mom Out” in 2015.

Outside of acting, Pellegrino also co-owned the restaurant Rao’s in East Harlem, New York City. The Italian spot has hosted many celebrities including Jay Z and Martin Scorsese, and appears in many films including “The Wolf of Wall Street” The mainstay was founded in 1896 and has sister locations in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

Fox Business panelist Charlie Gasparino posted a tribute to the late actor, his friend, on Facebook.

“Frank was so old school,” he wrote. “Tough exterior but had a heart of gold and he fought cancer as you would expect a street-kid from East Harlem would — until he could fight no more.”

Read the full tribute below:

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