CASINO and Sopranos star Vinny Vella has died aged 72 following a short battle with liver cancer.
The film star from New York was known for his lead roles in a number of Italian gangster films.
Getty – Contributor Vinny Vella has died aged 72, following a short battle with liver cancer
Gamma – Check copyright holder Vinny Vella pictured on the film set of Casino
In Martin Scorses’s film Casino, Vinny played Artie Piscano and worked alongside Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Sharon Stone.
And for five seasons he played the character Jimmy Petrille on hit series The Sopranos.
Vinny also had a number of smaller but pivotal roles in classics including Donnie Brasco, Kissing Jessica Stein, Kill the Irishman and Find Me Guilty.
‘NO MORE SUFFERING’
In a statement confirming Vinny’s death, his representative said: “We are saddened to report that Vinny Vella has passed and I’m sure that no one is more saddened than himself.
“Vinny loved life from his family to his friends and fans he was easily one of the funniest, endearing actors to have ever graced the screen.
“Vinny also had integrity and pride rarely seen. Arguably the fastest on the draw, king of the comebacks.
“His verbal jousting was legendary but many know Vinny for his favourite saying – “Who’s better than you?” Well Vinny, I think we all can agree on the answer to that, it was you, it always was you!
“We miss you my boy!
His son Vinny Jr sent a statement to TMZ, which said: “RIP to my father.
“I love you so much and I’m so heart broken. You are no longer in pain – no more suffering pops. I love you.”
‘PRIVILEGE TO KNOW YOU’
His death comes weeks after The Sopranos celebrated its 20th anniversary.
Vinny himself took to Facebook last month to recalling the enjoyable moments he had filming with his now close friends.
He wrote: “It’s hard to believe but today, January 10th, is the 20th anniversary of the debut of The Sopranos.
“Being a part of this show, often called the greatest show ever, was one of the great highlights of my career. People will still be watching the Sopranos 100 years from now. When I think about the people involved, it was really so many old and dear friends for me.”
Who was better than you?Vinny Vella Sr’s spokesperson
US film producer Thomas Churchill was among the first to pay tribute on social media.
He wrote on Facebook: “I just learned a friend of mine who I had the privilege to direct in one of my earlier film- Vinny Vella Sr has passed away.
“I remember going to his Monday night shows at some random Italian restaurant In little Italy in NYC.
“Vinny, a great character actor known for his work in #Casino. #GhostDog. #Sopranos.
“Last time that I seen you was in LA a little bit ago. …You will be missed.”
US talk show host Karen Waller Martin tweeted: “Great time on the red Carpet of Feature Film “Red Corvette” with Vinny Vella Sr.
“May you Rest in Perfect Peace Mr. Vella.
“Hubby John Martin and I send our deepest condolences to the Vella family.”
Tommy McManus from the 1980s heavy metal group Mama’s Boys said: “RIP Vinny.
“God Bless you. It was great to get to know you.”
�Alpha-Globe Photos Inc. Vinny Vella, right, smiles next to Tony Lip at the launch of their book Shut Up and Eat, in 2005
© Asmik Ace Entertainment / BIM Vinny stars in the black and white 2004 classic ‘Coffee and Cigarettes’
More to follow…
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