Star of Scorsese’s classic movie Casino Frank Marino dies aged 78

  • Veteran actor has died at the age of 78 following heart surgery
  • Vincent’s career began in 1976 and included roles in Casino and the Sopranos

Frank Vincent, best known for his roles as Frankie Marino in Casino and Phil Leotardo on The Sopranos, has died at the age of 78.

Frank Vincent playing Frank Marino in Casino, with right, Nicky Santoro played by Joe Pesci
Frank Vincent playing Frank Marino in Casino, with right, Nicky Santoro played by Joe Pesci

His death was reported by Sopranos co-star Vincent Pastore, who posted news of the actor’s death on his Facebook page.

Director John Gallagher, who worked with Vincent on the films Street Hunter and The Deli also posted the news of his death, and TMZ reported that the actor died as a result of post-surgery complications following a recent heart attack.

Mob character

Born in Massachusetts and raised in Jersey City, Vincent often played the role of a gangster. He began his career alongside Joe Pesci in the low-budget 1976 crime film The Death Collector and went on to act in Raging Bull directed by Martin Scorsese, which was the first in a number of collaborations with both Pesci, and Robert De Niro.

That run of films included Goodfellas and Casino, in which Vincent starred as Frankie Marino, a mob associate of Joe Pesci’s iconic mob character Nicky Santoro, though his most high profile recent role was as Phil Leotardo, the boss of the fictional Lupertazzi crime family, and the series’ main antagonist in HBO’s The Sopranos.

Besides his successful film and television career, he was also the voice of the Mafia boss Salvatore Leone in the video game Grand Theft Auto III, reprising the role in a further two iterations of that series, and was the co-writer of the book A Guy’s Guide to Being a Man’s Man.

He is survived by his wife, Kathleen, and three children.

Casino a classic

Casino is regarded as an obsessively detailed piece of work, focusing in on the machinations of a 1970s Las Vegas casino.

It’s fans have commented on how beautifully shot the whole film is, oozing a classy, but slightly cold view of a buzzing Vegas casino in what some would consider to be a real heyday of the entertainment form – a different world from the plusher, more developed, but also more sanitized resort casinos of the modern age.

Vincent’s character is present throughout, and is right at the forefront of the action for Nicky Santoro’s gruesome comeuppance towards the film’s conclusion.

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