Tony Sirico Dead at 79: ‘The Sopranos’ Fans Mourn Death of the Paulie Walnuts Actor

by Joe Rutland

It did not take long for millions of fans to share their remembrances of The Sopranos star Tony Sirico, who died on Friday at 79. Sirico played the unforgettable Paulie Walnuts on the HBO TV series that starred James Gandolfini and Edie Falco. But we’d be remiss to not point out how many scenes Sirico probably stole as Paulie. He would sometimes share his philosophy of the world with others. Then, of course, he’d be out doing some business for Tony Soprano. Sirico also had some memorable scenes with Michael Imperioli, who played Christopher. Well, let’s take a look at what a few of these fans are sharing on a somber Friday.

Another fan writes on Twitter, “This one hurts man, rest in peace tony sirico, one of the greatest characters ever in television, you will live on through paulie”. This fan also shared sentiments after just watching The Sopranos yet again. “Rest in peace, Tony Sirico. I just finished watching The Sopranos for the second time yesterday. And the show found a surprising tenderness to Paulie in those final few season, he’s played with a sort of boyish charm I’ve always loved. Incredible work.”

Tony Sirico Fans Also Remember Other Actors Who Played Mobsters

A number of fans were remembering others who have died recently that have played mobsters. Ray Liotta, who had a memorable turn as Henry Hill in Goodfellas, passed earlier this year. On Thursday, we all learned that James Caan passed away. Of course, movie fans know Caan from one of his most memorable roles as Sonny Corleone in The Godfather. Tony Sirico reportedly grew up in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn. He’s not the only famous son from that area as comedian Jackie Gleason would draw from his life there for The Honeymooners.

Sirico’s portrayal of Paulie Walnuts probably will go down as one of TV’s most beloved characters. The Sopranos ran between 1999 and 2007 on HBO. The series is now available on DVD. Fans also were commenting that Paulie and Tony, played by Gandolfini, can be reunited now. Gandolfini died in 2013. But the actor’s early life was not easy as Sirico would find himself in trouble with the law. According to Variety, Sirico talked about that part of his life in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “I was very unstable,” Sirico said in 1990. “I wasn’t thinking right. So I hooked up with these guys and all of a sudden I’m a stick-up artist. I stuck up every nightclub in New York.”

In a Facebook post, Sirico’s family writes they are “deeply grateful for the many expressions of love, prayer and condolences and requests that the public respect its privacy in this time of bereavement.”