LEGENDARY actor Tony Sirico’s resume was perfect for the Sopranos as he faced 28 arrests before becoming a legendary gangster and on-screen sage.
The 79-year-old, best known for his role as Paulie Walnuts on the hit HBO series, died on Friday after a wild ride for crime and fame.
Sirico brought a lot to his roles, including a rich crime story that he never shied away from.
In fact, the actor has been arrested 28 times — the first time after he stole nickels from a newsstand when he was seven.
“I was a gun packer,” Sirico said.
“The first time I went to jail they searched me to see if I had a gun – and I had three of them on me.
“They would ask why I’m pregnant and I would say I live in a bad area. It was true.”
The Paulie Walnuts star was born on July 29, 1942 in New York City, more specifically in the Bensonhurst neighborhood of Brooklyn.
“If you didn’t carry a gun in our neighborhood, it was like you were the rabbit during rabbit hunting season,” he told the Los Angeles Times.
Eventually, Sirico’s arrests led him to the big screen, having seen a performance by ex-cons during his last prison stint in the 1970s.
He joked that chatting constantly with police captains gave him what it takes to be a successful actor.
“I got 28 arrests and only two convictions, so you have to admit I’ve got a pretty good acting record,” he said.
Raised in Bensonhurst, he also had ties to the Colombo crime family, Yahoo News reported.
Between 1960 and 1970 he was arrested for assault, robbery and other crimes.
But acting saved the man from himself, and Sirico used his experience to give performances that no one could touch.
Sirico appeared in the famous film Goodfellas before becoming part of the Sopranos cast.
While Sirico continued to play various mob bosses in TV shows and films, he also found steady work as a voice artist.
Sirico has also appeared in a number of Woody Allen films including Bullets Over Broadway, Mighty Aphrodite and Cafe Society.
“I feel good about what I’ve achieved,” he told the LA Times.
“I came from another world and now I’m an actor.”
The late acting legend said he takes pride in his work.
“I remember when I got that first part in The Godfather and Coppola told me I was a real character, with a bunch of dialogue and all,” he said.
“Oh, let me tell you. I strutted.
“I thought, ‘I have a name. I have a name!'”
https://www.the-sun.com/entertainment/5736755/tony-sirico-inside-gangster-past/ Tony Sirico’s gangster past was revealed after 28 arrests aged 7 and in prison before finding fame as The Sopranos’ Paulie Walnuts