Frank Vincent

Frank Vincent Gattuso Jr. (April 15, 1937 – September 13, 2017),[1] known professionally as Frank Vincent, was an American actor,[2] musician, and author. He played prominent roles in the HBO series The Sopranos and in several films for director Martin Scorsese: Raging Bull (1980), Goodfellas (1990), and Casino (1995).[3]

Frank Vincent
Vincent in 2012
Frank Vincent Gattuso Jr.

(1937-04-15)April 15, 1937
DiedSeptember 13, 2017(2017-09-13) (aged 80)
OccupationActor, musician, author
Years active1976–2017
Kathleen Vincent
(m. 1970; his death 2017)

Early life

Vincent, who was of Italian descent with roots in Sicily and Naples, was born in North Adams, Massachusetts, and raised in Jersey City, New Jersey.[4] His father, Frank Vincent Gattuso Sr., was an iron worker and businessman.[5][6] He had two brothers, Nick and Jimmy, and a half-sister, Fran.[5]


Skilled at the drums, piano, and trumpet, Vincent originally aspired to a career in music, and by day, was a studio musician who worked with many recording artists, such as Paul Anka and Del Shannon. Vincent had his own jazz band that would play in the evenings, billed "Frank Vincent and the Aristocats." In 1969, Vincent's band needed a piano player to secure bookings, but Vincent ended up hiring a guitar player named Joe Pesci. As the popularity of lounge music waned, Vincent and Pesci would instead turn to stand-up comedy, performing as "Vincent and Pesci" from 1970 to 1976. Their act coupled Abbott and Costello-inspired double act antics with Don Rickles-style insult comedy, which proved popular with crowds. During this time, both men developed a strong professional and personal friendship with one another.[7][8] Vincent and Pesci later landed parts in the low-budget gangster movie The Death Collector (1976), where they were spotted by Robert De Niro. De Niro told Martin Scorsese about both Vincent and Pesci; Scorsese was impressed by their performances and hired Vincent to appear in a supporting role in Raging Bull (1980), in which he once again appeared with Pesci and co-starred with De Niro.[9] Vincent soon thereafter appeared in small roles in two Spike Lee films: Do the Right Thing (1989) and Jungle Fever (1991) (in the latter, he played the abusive patriarch of an Italian-American family).[10]

One of his notable appearances in foreign film was in Juan José Jusid's Made in Argentina, in which he played Vito, a wealthy Manhattan businessman who befriends the substance abuse counselor who treated his son.[11]

Vincent was often cast as a gangster.[11] For example, in Scorsese's film Goodfellas (1990), he played Billy Batts, a made man in the Gambino crime family;[12] he also played a role in Scorsese's film Casino (1995) as Frank Marino (based on real-life gangster Frank Cullotta), the sidekick of Pesci's character.[13]

In 1996, Vincent appeared in the music video for rap artist Nas' song "Street Dreams."[9] In the television movie Gotti (1996), Vincent played Robert "D.B." DiBernardo, an associate of Mafia boss John Gotti's, whose life the film chronicled.[10] In the HBO TV series The Sopranos, he had his most prominent role, as Phil Leotardo, a ruthless New York City gangster who, as boss of the show's fictional Lupertazzi crime family, becomes the show's chief antagonist in the final season.[14]

Vincent also had a leading role in the heist movie This Thing of Ours (2003),[9] wherein he had a brief association with alleged Genovese crime family capo Danny Provenzano (grandnephew of Anthony Provenzano) and Colombo crime family underboss Sonny Franzese, who is arguably the oldest American Mafia member and is alleged to have murdered around 50 people; Vincent is pictured with them alongside former Sopranos actors including Vincent Pastore.[15] In 2003, Vincent testified in court twice on behalf of Provenzano at repeal sentences; Provenzano was serving a 10-year sentence for racketeering and other charges.[16]

One of Vincent's lighter-hearted roles was in a British television commercial for Peugeot cars.[14] In early 2005, he appeared on Irish television in a series of television commercials for Irish bank Permanent TSB.[12]

In 1999, he won the Italian American Entertainer of the Year Award. Another noted performance is his appearance in the film Remedy (2003).[9]

In video games, Vincent voiced the character of Mafia boss Salvatore Leone in the video game Grand Theft Auto III (2001). He later reprised that role in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004) and Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories (2005).[12]

In 2006, he released a book, A Guy's Guide to Being a Man's Man to positive reviews.[13] His idol was Dean Martin.[17] He has also released a line of hand-rolled cigars which have his picture prominently displayed on the band.[18]

He played Lieutenant Marino in the independent film The Tested (2008), directed by Russell Costanzo.[19] The following year, he made a cameo appearance alongside fellow Sopranos actor Steve Schirripa in the Stargate Atlantis episode "Vegas" (2009).[20] The year following that, he starred in Chicago Overcoat (2009) as the main protagonist.[13]

In 2013, he starred in the hit IDW Publishing comic series Killogy[21][22] created by Life of Agony's Alan Robert as the character Sally Sno Cones alongside Marky Ramone of The Ramones. The series was nominated at the Ghastly Awards for Best Mini-Series and won multiple Horror Comic Awards from the Horror News Network. In 2014, the comics were adapted into a 3D animation for the Killogy animated series,[23][24] in which the cast of the original comic series contributed their voices.

A resident of Nutley, New Jersey, Vincent used his drumming skills in an impromptu performance at a township holiday concert.[25]

Death and legacy

In early September 2017, Vincent suffered a heart attack.[26] He underwent open heart surgery in New Jersey on September 13; however, he died shortly thereafter. Vincent was 80 years old.[27] Director John Gallagher, who worked with Vincent on Street Hunter and The Deli, noted that the actor lied about his age to avoid discrimination, and therefore many sources listed his birth year as 1939.[28]

Vincent's remains were cremated at a funeral home in Montclair, New Jersey. A funeral service was held on September 16.[29]



  • Vincent, Frank; Priggé, Steven (2006). A Guy's Guide to Being a Man's Man. Berkley Books. ISBN 978-0425208762.


  1. "'Sopranos' Actor Frank Vincent Dead At 80". Huffington Post.
  2. "Frank Vincent". The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 8, 2013.
  3. Staff reports (September 15, 2017) "Sopranos actor made a name playing gangsters" The Washington Post, page B5 Retrieved September 17, 2017
  4. "13 Questions With Frank Vincent". Ask Men. June 19, 2015.
  5. "Frank Vincent Biography (1939-)". Retrieved September 13, 2017.
  6. "Killing Time with Frank Vincent". Cigar Aficionado. Retrieved September 13, 2017.
  7. Lewine, Edward. "Frank Vincent's Two-Limo Night". New York TImes.
  8. Eidelstein, Eric. "The Mysterious Disappearing Act of Joe Pesci". Complex (magazine).
  9. Natalie J. Stone (September 13, 2017). "Sopranos Actor Frank Vincent Dies at 78: Report". People. Retrieved September 13, 2017.
  10. Rebecca Rubin (September 13, 2017). "Frank Vincent, 'Sopranos' and 'Goodfellas' Actor, Dies at 78". Variety. Retrieved September 13, 2017.
  11. Jayme Deewester (September 13, 2017). "Reports: Frank Vincent, go-to movie mobster from 'Goodfellas, 'Sopranos,' dies at 78". USA Today. Retrieved September 13, 2017.
  12. "Frank Vincent, Mob Boss Phil Leotardo on 'The Sopranos,' Dies at 78". The Hollywood Reporter. September 13, 2017. Retrieved September 13, 2017.
  13. "Frank Vincent, had roles in 'The Sopranos,' 'Goodfellas', dies at 78". Chicago Sun-Times. September 13, 2017. Retrieved September 13, 2017.
  14. ""The Sopranos" Actor Frank Vincent Dies at 78". Entertainment Online. September 13, 2017. Retrieved September 13, 2017.
  15. "Art imitates life in NY mobster world". The Guardian. Retrieved September 14, 2017.
  16. "Art Imitated Crime, but the Jail Term Is Real". The New York Times. Retrieved September 14, 2017.
  17. Vincent, Frank (2006). A Guy's Guide to Being a Man's Man.
  18. "Frank Vincent". Official Web Site of Frank Vincent. Retrieved September 13, 2017.
  19. "The Tested". June 4, 2018. Retrieved June 4, 2018.
  20. "GateWorld » Last additions - PDVD 2164 - Stargate Image Gallery". Retrieved September 13, 2017.
  22. "Shoot First, Ask Questions Later: The Killogy Interview with Alan Robert". Retrieved June 4, 2018.
  23. "Killogy: The Animated Series". Retrieved June 4, 2018.
  24. "'The Boondocks' Rodney Barnes Developing 'Killogy' Animated Series". May 15, 2014. Retrieved June 4, 2018.
  25. Jongsma, Joshua (September 14, 2017). "Sopranos actor Frank Vincent of Nutley dies". The Record. Bergen County, NJ. Retrieved September 26, 2017. Actor Frank Vincent of The Sopranos and Goodfellas fame — a Nutley resident — died Wednesday at the age of 80.... In the summer of 2016, Vincent performed on the drums during Nutley’s concert in Memorial Park. Scarpelli said it was a 'spur of the moment thing' when Vincent joined the concert.
  26. Destanis, Rachel (September 13, 2017). "'The Sopranos' and 'Goodfellas' actor Frank Vincent dead at 78". New York Daily News. Retrieved September 13, 2017.
  27. Deerwester, Jayme; Keveney, Bill (September 13, 2017). "Frank Vincent, go-to movie mobster from 'Goodfellas, 'Sopranos,' dies at 80". USA Today. Retrieved September 13, 2017.
  28. Genzlinger, Neil (September 13, 2017). "Frank Vincent, Mobster on 'The Sopranos' and in 'Goodfellas,' Dies at 80". The New York Times. Retrieved September 15, 2017.
  29. "FRANK VINCENT BODY CREMATED For Presentation at Memorial Service". TMZ. September 16, 2017. Retrieved September 16, 2017.
  30. "Filmography". Frank Retrieved September 13, 2017.
  31. "Frank Vincent". Retrieved September 13, 2017.
  32. "The wild, untold story of The Good Life". Little White Lies. February 11, 2017. Retrieved February 24, 2017.
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