Frank Pellegrino Dead: 'Sopranos' Actor Dies At Age 72

The Sopranos star Frank Pellegrino has lost his battle with cancer, at the age of 72.

Pellegrino's big break came in Martin Scorsese's 1990 classic Goodfellas, the first of many gangster-genre roles, peaking with his work as Frank Cubitoso on The Sopranos, a bureau chief tasked with the Soprano-DiMeo case. "Most people know frank as the owner of Rao's, the super exclusive Italian restaurant in the old neighborhood of East Harlem, and from his various acting gigs (ie Goodfellas, the Sopranos) I was fortunate enough to know him as a friend..."

The popular restaurant shut its doors for the rest of this week to mark his passing. "I've got all the riches, baby, one man can claim". Even though Pellegrino was undergoing intense treatment for his cancer, he still found time to stop by his restaurant and give thanks to the regular customers of the eatery.

"I was with Frankie yesterday just after he passed", Pellegrino's friend Richrd "Bo" Dietl told Entertainment Weekly.

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"We really lost an icon", Dietl, who's running in the NYC mayoral race said. Dietl added, "He never complained once, he was always upbeat". 'He was big-hearted and generous and always took care of people.

Along with authoring four cookbooks, Pellegrino also produced the CD An Evening at Rao's, featuring music from Rao's jukebox.

He leaves behind a son Frankie Jr, who runs Rao's outposts in LA and Las Vegas, a daughter, and wife Josephine.

Pellegrino's longtime friend Charlie Gasparino (a panelist on Fox Business) posted a tribute on Facebook, calling him a "legend" in NY and an "old school" guy who had a "tough exterior but a heart of gold".

  • Stacy Houston