Frank Vincent (Frank Vincent Gattuso Jr.) has passed away at age 78. He is survived by his wife, Kathleen Vincent.
Vincent was one of those actors whose mere presence alone would allow him to hold his own on screen with acting giants such as Robert De Niro and Harvey Keitel; and with directors of the caliber of Martin Scorsese and Spike Lee. Sure, Vincent was known for playing a gangster in more than a handful of films (the man was born for it) but he would never allow himself to be typecast as only one particular type of “tough guy” and it showed in a number of roles that you might not expect from The Sopranos‘ Phil Leotardo.
Vincent started his acting career in 1976 with the low-budget crime film The Death Collector. Four years later, he would join his co-star Joe Pesci in Scorsese’s Raging Bull, which would serve as the first of a number of collaborations between Vincent, Pesci, and De Niro that would also include his memorable turns as mobster Billy Batts in Goodfellas (“Go home and get your shine box!”) and mobster Frankie Marino in Casino.
Though born in North Adams, Mass., Vincent always represented the tougher, more brutally romanticized aspects of living in and around New York City — even if the film was set in Las Vegas or Chicago…or the ocean. It’s easy to only remember the mob movies because they were so damn fun, but Vincent brought his level of emotional grit and toughness to films as diverse as Do The Right Thing, The Pope of Greenwich Village and Shark Tale. For Vincent, it was always about trying something new and different, a willingness to play against expectations with projects that broke stereotypes; like the work he did in Nas’s Street Dreams video or his guest appearance in an episode of Stargate: Atlantis.
And you would think for a man closer to 80 than ever before that he would take some time to relax and slow things down a little, but that wouldn’t be Vincent’s style. At the time of his death, he had just finished his turn as Jon Gabagooli on Adult Swim‘s righteously subversive animated series Mr. Pickles; and started pre-production on three film projects: Asbury Park, Sarah Q, and The Italy Boys.
Vincent died due to complications from an emergency heart surgery stemming from a heart attack. Director John Gallagher, who worked with Vincent on both Street Hunter and The Deli, took to Facebook to share the tragic news:
“You establish a technique on how to develop characters. Everyone does it their own way, and that’s what makes it fun.”
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