Frank Vincent, Mob Boss Phil Leotardo on 'The Sopranos,' Dies at 80

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Frank Vincent, Mob Boss Phil Leotardo on 'The Sopranos,' Dies at 80

Born in North Adams, Massachusetts, to Frank and Mary Gattuso, Vincent was raised in Jersey City, New Jersey, where he acted in school plays and learned piano, trumpet and drums.

The Sopranos star Frank Vincent has been cremated and will be displayed at his upcoming memorial service. But it was the profane zingers he uttered as Billy "Go get your shinebox" Batts, and the gruesome onscreen deaths that Batts and Phil Leotardo both suffered, for which Vincent was best known.

He made his film debut in 1976 in " The Death Collector", whose cast also included his friend Joe Pesci, a fellow musician.

The two actors had a long history: They started out playing music together in nightclubs, with Pesci on guitar - and eventually they realized their outsize personalities were captivating audiences. Mugs and T-shirts emblazoned with the line were soon being sold.

Vincent had small roles in two Spike Lee films, Do the Right Thing and Jungle Fever, and also was in The Pope of Greenwich Village, Last Exit to Brooklyn, Night Falls on Manhattan and Shark Tale, among his more than 50 films. He would play his typical mobster role in Scorsese films and was perhaps most memorable when getting under the skin of hotheaded Joe Pesci characters. "David now in retrospect says he didn't want to hire me at that time because "Goodfellas" was too popular and the character Billy Batts was too known to put him into that mix".

Vincent, who played mob boss Phil Leotardo on HBO's The Sopranos, passed away following complications from heart surgery in New Jersey on Wednesday.

In 2006, Vincent wrote the nonfiction book "A Guy's Guide to Being a Man's Man". He expressed surprise, since the character is so tough. "He's a man's man, for sure".

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