‘Paulie Walnuts’ Sopranos actor is laid to rest in his native Brooklyn
Tony Sirico, the actor who portrayed Paulie Walnuts on “The Sopranos,” was laid to rest on Wednesday at a church in Bensonhurst — with his brother, Father Robert Sirico, celebrating the funeral mass.
The funeral took place at Basilica of Regina Pacis, on 65th Street between 12th and 13th avenues. The crowd included fellow “Sopranos” actors Lorraine Bracco, Steven Van Zandt and Joseph Gannascoli.
The New York Post quoted Father Robert Sirico as saying, “My friends, if Paulie Walnuts can steal heaven, so can you and I.”
Sirico, who died on Friday at the age of 79 in Florida, was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Bensonhurst and East Flatbush.
Although he almost certainly was not a “made man,” Sirico, who once described himself as a “tough kid,” was arrested more than 20 times on such charges as robbery, disorderly conduct and assault, according to numerous online sources.
After a stint at Sing Sing, he took up acting, playing both gangsters and police officers.
The Post also said that at the funeral, Gannascoli said that when he got to the gates of heaven, he might tell St. Peter, “You don’t wanna be my enemy, St. Peter.”
Bob McGowan, Sirico’s agent, said Sirico was unconcerned about playing bad-guy roles. “He didn’t mind playing a mob guy, but he wouldn’t play an informant.”
Michael Imperioli, who portrayed Christopher Moltisanti on “The Sopranos,” called Sirico his “dear friend, colleague and partner in crime.”
“Tony was like no one else: he was as tough, as loyal and as big hearted as anyone I’ve ever known,” Imperioli said on Instagram.
Among Sirico’s other credits were Woody Allen films including “Bullets over Broadway” and “Mighty Aphrodite,” and appearances on TV series including “Miami Vice” and voice roles on “Family Guy” and “American Dad!”
Sirico is survived by daughter Joanne Sirico Bello; son Richard Sirico; his brother, the aforementioned Father Robert Sirico; and other relatives.
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