Who is Tony Sirico?
Tony Sirico is an American actor who started his acting career in the 1970s and has worked in nearly 45 films and 18 TV shows. Before becoming an actor, he was a real-life mobster who had been arrested 28 times and had served two prison terms. During his second prison term, he watched a group of ex-con performers called the ‘Theater of the Forgotten’ and then decided to give acting a shot. He often portrays Italian–American gangsters. Even though he has appeared in quite a few films, he gained fame with his role in the TV series ‘The Sopranos.’ He is at the later years of his career, but his charisma and skills have helped him retain his popularity. He has worked hard all his life and has proved his worth in each and every role he has played.
Tony Sirico made his acting debut in ‘Crazy Joe,’ which was a film about the life of mobster Joey Gallo, in 1974. He also appeared in ‘Godfather, Part II’ the same year. He had his first speaking role in this movie. He was best known for playing mobsters in groundbreaking gangster films. He has been cast frequently by Woody Allen and James Toback. He has played roles of gangsters in films such as ‘Fingers’ (1978), ‘Love and Money’ (1982), ‘Goodfellas’ (1990), ‘Innocent Blood’ (1992), ‘Mighty Aphrodite’ (1995), ‘Bullets Over Broadway’ (1994), and ‘Mob Queen’ (1998). Tony played the role of a policeman in ‘Dead Presidents’ (1995) and ‘Deconstructing Harry’ (1997).
He made his first TV appearance in ‘Kojak’ in 1977. He continued appearing in series such as ‘Police Squad! (1982) and ‘Miami Vice’ (1989). His most acclaimed TV role has been that of ‘Paul “Paulie Walnuts” Gaultieri’ in the ‘Emmy Award’-winning show ‘The Sopranos’ (1999–2007). He played a hilarious and quirky enforcer for the Soprano crime family, with an unforgettable hairdo.
His other TV projects include ‘Cosby’ (1996), ‘The Fairly Odd Parents’ (2005), and ‘Chuck’ (2010). He was part of the ‘Gangster’s Actors Guild,’ a loosely associated group of actors who played every hoodlum and gangster part that was available. Tony Sirico's recent works include his roles in ‘Cafe Society’ (2016) and ‘Wonder Wheel’ (2017).
He lent his voice to the character ‘Paulie "Walnuts" Gualtieri’ in the 2006 video game ‘The Sopranos: Road to Respect.’
He, along with the other cast members of ‘The Sopranos,’ won the ‘Screen Actors Guild Award’ for ‘Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series’ in 2000 and 2008.
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Family & Personal Life
Tony Sirico was born on July 29, 1942, in Brooklyn, New York, US, and grew up in the Bensonhurst area.
He was first arrested at the age of 7 for stealing nickels from a newspaper stand. He spent a lot of his early life amidst mobs. Tony was found guilty of robbing a Brooklyn after-hours club and served a prison sentence of 13 months in 1967.
In 1971, while he was serving 20 months in ‘Sing Sing’ prison, a performance group of ex-cons, known as the ‘Theatre of the Forgotten,’ came to entertain the inmates. It made a huge impact on him, and he decided to try acting. He mostly portrayed gangsters. His criminal past helped him lend some authenticity to his performance, blurring the line between him and the characters he played.
Tony lived with his mother, Marie Sirico, for most of his life. He has two brothers, Carmine Sirico and Rev. Robert Sirico, who is a Catholic priest and co-founder of the free market ‘Action Institute.’
Tony is a happily married man who has not shared the identity of his wife. He has a daughter named Joeanna Sirico and a son named Richard Sirico.
Tony funds for ‘St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’ and other non-profit organizations.