Vincent in 2012
Frank Vincent Gattuso Jr.
April 15, 1937
|Died||September 13, 2017 (aged 80)|
New Jersey, U.S.
|Occupation||Actor, musician, author|
Frank Vincent Gattuso Jr. (April 15, 1937 - September 13, 2017) was an American actor, musician and author, prominent for roles in the HBO series The Sopranos and Law & Order (1991-1999), and in several films for director Martin Scorsese: Raging Bull (1980), Goodfellas (1990), Casino (1995) and Cop Land (1997).
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. His father, Frank Vincent Gattuso Sr., was an iron worker and businessman. He had two brothers, Nick and Jimmy, and a half-sister, Fran.
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 Joe Pesci to play guitar. 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. Vincent and Pesci later landed parts in the low-budget gangster film 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. 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).
One of his notable appearances in foreign films 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.
Vincent was often cast as a gangster. For example, in Scorsese's film Goodfellas (1990), he played Billy Batts, a made man in the Gambino crime family; 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.
In 1996, Vincent appeared in the music video for rap artist Nas' song "Street Dreams." 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. 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.
In 2003, Vincent portrayed Danny Santini in the film This Thing of Ours, whose associate producer was Sonny Franzese, longtime mobster and underboss of the Colombo crime family, and whose director was Genovese crime family capo Danny Provenzano (grandnephew of Anthony Provenzano). Later that year, Vincent testified in court on the behalf of Provenzano at repeal sentences; Provenzano was serving a 10-year sentence for racketeering and other charges.
One of Vincent's lighter-hearted roles was in a British television commercial for Peugeot cars. In early 2005, he appeared on Irish television in a series of commercials for Irish bank Permanent TSB.
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).
In 2006, he released a book, A Guy's Guide to Being a Man's Man to positive reviews. His idol was Dean Martin. He has also released a line of hand-rolled cigars which have his picture prominently displayed on the band.
He played Lieutenant Marino in the independent film The Tested (2008), directed by Russell Costanzo. The following year, he made a cameo appearance alongside fellow Sopranos actor Steve Schirripa in the Stargate Atlantis episode "Vegas" (2009). The year following that, he starred in Chicago Overcoat (2009) as the main protagonist.
In 2013, he starred in the hit IDW Publishing comic series Killogy 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, in which the cast of the original comic series contributed their voices.
In early September 2017, Vincent suffered a heart attack. He underwent open heart surgery in New Jersey on September 13; however, he died shortly thereafter. Vincent was 80 years old. 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.
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.