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|Also Known As:||Frank Vincent Gattuso||Died:||September 13, 2017|
|Born:||April 15, 1937||Cause of Death:||Complications during heart surgery|
|Birth Place:||North Adams, Massachusetts, 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, Frank Vincent turned in excellent, menacing performances in a score of films and TV shows while never becoming 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 in film 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 appeared 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 higher-profile 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-guy 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 Onassis. Vincent also showed up on TV from time to time, including 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 was his addition to the supporting cast of the mob drama "The Sopranos" (HBO 1999-2007) in 2004 as the menacing Phil Leotardo, whose simmering vendetta against Tony Sopranos crew nearly undoes the mob boss' mini-empire. During this period, Vincent co-wrote the book A Guy's Guide to Being a Man's Man. Vincent slowed down his prolific career after his stint on "The Sopranos," appearing in a handful of voice roles in video games and direct-to-DVD animated films. He also had a rare lead role in the gangster film "Chicago Overcoat" (2009) and appeared in an episode of "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit" (NBC 1999- ). Frank Vincent died on September 13, 2017, while undergoing open heart surgery following a heart attack. He was 80 years old.
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