Although never "connected," actor Tony Sirico had his share of run-ins with the law before packing the pistol away to play hoodlums in the movies. While doing time in Sing Sing, he saw a traveling thespian troupe of ex-cons called The Theater of the Forgotten and determined that he to would be an actor. Shortly after his release from prison, he earned his Screen Actors Guild card for his work in "Crazy Joey" (1974, about the life of mobster Joey Gallo), but the lean years that followed almost convinced him to strap the iron back on to earn his daily bread. Sirico persevered and began making slow inroads into the business, enjoying an early association with director James Toback. He has also acted in four Woody Allen movies, beginning with "Bullets Over Broadway" (1994). In his own words, he's "done like 45 movies, played 40 gangsters and five crooked cops" (Daily News, February 7, 1999), a resume that eminently qualifies him for the unofficial group of New York actors called GAG--the Gangsters Actors Guild.
Sirico had a small role in Martin Scorsese's classic mob picture "GoodFellas" (1990) and played assorted wiseguys in movies like Susan Seidelman's "Cookie" (1989), John Landis' vampire-mobster spoof "Innocent Blood" (1992) and "The Search for One-Eye Jimmy" (1996). In 1997, he also got a chance to act with future "Sopranos" co-stars Michael Imperioli and Vincent Pastore" in John Andrew Gallagher's "The Deli," but it would remain for "The Sopranos" (1999-2007), HBO's acclaimed dark comedy about the mob, to make him a star. "When I first read David Chase's script, I knew this was special. This is what I'd been looking for all my life . . . When I heard James Gandolfini, Edie Falco, Michael Imperioli and Nancy Marchand were in it, I knew it was going to be a total class act. I knew right away this was a role to kill for." (Daily News, February 7, 1999) Fortunately, he didn't break out the pistol but let that "certain authenticity" he would bring to his character do his talking for him, and he landed the role of Tony Soprano's icy enforcer Paulie Walnuts in the breakout hit.
Cast (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Earned Screen Actors Guild card for first film, "Crazy Joe"
Credited as Anthony Sirico Jr in James Toback's "Love & Money"
Credited as G Anthony Sirico for John Flynn's "Defiance"
Reteamed with Toback for "Exposed"
Third film with Toback for "The Pick-Up Artist"; first credit as Tony Sirico
Appeared as himself in Toback's feature documentary "The Big Bang"
Played Tony Stacks (of Cicero's 1950s crew) in Martin Scorsese's "GoodFellas"
Acted in Woody Allen's "Bullets Over Broadway"
Reteamed with Allen for "Mighty Aphrodite"
Portrayed an escaped convict in Allen's "Everyone Says I Love You"
Fourth film with Allen, "Deconstructing Harry"
Acted with future "Sopranos" co-stars Michael Imperioli and Vincent Pastore in John Andrew Gallagher's "The Deli"
Played Tommy Gambino in NBC minisries "Witness to the Mob"
Interviewed for TNT's "Family Values: The Mob & the Movies"
Portrayed Paulie Walnuts on the HBO drama "The Sopranos"