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|Also Known As:||Frank Vincent Gattuso||Died:|
|Born:||August 4, 1939||Cause of Death:|
|Birth Place:||Jersey City, New Jersey, USA||Profession:||Cast ... actor comedian drummer talent agent restaurant host|
The modern equivalent of such Warner Brothers gangsters as Allen Jenkins, Frank McHugh and Wayne Morris, this actor has turned in excellent, menacing performances in a score of films since 1976, but has not yet become a "star." Vincent started his professional life drifting through the New York nightclub world of the 1960s: he was a drummer for studio sessions and led his own band, The Aristocrats, in the honky-tonk clubs of Times Square, the Tenderloin and vicinity. He eventually formed a comedy act with his band singer, Joe Pesci. The duo performed sketches, did accents and used insult humor and toured the US for six years before dissolving the partnership in 1975.
Pesci and Vincent both had large supporting roles in the low-budget gangster film "Death Collector" (1976) but Vincent did not work again for several years. A chance meeting with Pesci in 1978 led to an audition with Martin Scorsese for his biopic of Jake La Motta, "Raging Bull" (1980). Vincent was excellent as Salvi, a gangster whom Pesci beats to a pulp, but his career idled for the next decade. Vincent appeared again with Pesci in "Dear Mr. Wonderful" (1982) and had small roles in John Sayles' "Baby, It's You" (1983), "The Pope of Greenwich Village" (1984), "No Surrender" and Brian De Palma's "Wise Guys" (both 1986).
In 1989, Vincent landed small roles in two high-profile projects: Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing," as a motorist doused with water from a fire hydrant, and Ulrich Edel's "Last Exit to Brooklyn," as a priest. Scorsese re-teamed Vincent and Pesci in "GoodFellas" (1990)--Pesci again beat up Vincent, this time fatally. Finally, the film community began offering Vincent slightly larger roles in better films: Alan Rudolph's domestic murder thriller "Mortal Thoughts" and Spike Lee's "Jungle Fever" (both 1991) and Michael Corrente's crime drama "Federal Hill" (1994), as a local 'godfather'. In 1995, Scorsese reunited Vincent and Pesci in "Casino," where this time, Vincent had the opportunity to kill his longtime screen nemesis. Vincent subsequently appeared in the drama "Grind" in support of Adrienne Shelley and Billy Crudup and in Edward Burns' romantic comedy "She's the One" (both 1996). He would continue to surface in crime-drama fare such as "Night Falls On Manhattan," "Copland," "Made Men" (all 1997) and as comedic variations of his tough-goobah persona in "Gunshy" and "The Crew" (both 2000). He had a rare, non-gangster-from-the-neighborhood role in the 2000 biopic of author Jaqueline Susann "Isn't She Great" playing Greek tycoon Aristotle Onansis.
Vincent has also shown up on TV from time to time, including guest spots on the series "Young Indiana Jones," "Walker, Texas Ranger," "Civil Wars" and "Law and Order." He also had decent supporting roles in the TV-movies "A Perfect Spy" (PBS, 1988), "The Adventure of the Clapham Cook" (PBS, 1990), "Dead and Alive--The Race for Gus Farace" (ABC, 1991), "On Seventh Avenue" (1996), "Gotti" (1996), "Witness to the Mob" (1998) and "Rubout" (2003), among many others. But the actor's seminal role has to be his seemingly long-overdue addition to the supporting cast of the hit HBO mob drama "The Sopranos" in 2004 as the menacing Phil Leotardo, whose simmering vendetta against Tony Sopranos crew nearly undoes the mob boss' mini-empire.
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