Actor Frank Vincent, who was a fixture in classic gangster films and TV shows the last three decades, has died at age 78. Vincent died in New Jersey complications during heart surgery, TMZ reported.
Raised in Jersey City, New Jersey, Vincent came to fame with several roles acclaimed crime dramas directed by Martin Scorsese. Vincent appeared in Scorsese’s Raging Bull, Goodfellas, and Casino, ten appearing alongside Oscar winner Joe Pesci.
Vincent was also cast in pivotal Spike Lee films; appearing in Do the Right Thing and Jungle Fever.
In 1996, Vincent co-starred in the Hype Williams-directed video for “Street Dreams,” a hit single by Nas. The visual was an ode to Scorsese’s Casino, the 1994 gangster movie in which Vincent also co-starred.
Vincent would go on to appear in Hype Williams’ Belly in 1998. On set, the veteran actor also served as the ficial acting coach to rappers Nas, DMX and Method Man. Hype decided to cast him as Federal Agent Roger.
“They wanted me to shave my head, but I wouldn’t do that. It would take me out business for a while,” Vincent recalled in 2008 the production. “Hype wanted me to look different, so they tried to put a skullcap on me. I have pretty thick hair, so they were gluing it down. When they shot it, the skullcap kept coming up in the shot. They couldn’t get it to stay down, so I decided rather than lose the scene, they shoot it with me blurry.”
He was known for his tough guy roles, garnering particular acclaim as nefarious mafioso Phil Leotardo on HBO’s hit The Sopranos.
Vincent was having heart surgery following a heart attack he’d suffered last week. He reportedly died on the operating table.
Watch Frank Vincent in Nas’ Video for “Street Dreams”:
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Watch Frank Vincent in Goodfellas:
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