Obituaries

Frank Vincent, 80, veteran actor, ‘Sopranos’ mobster

Frank Vincent attends HBO's World Premiere of two new episodes of 'The Sopranos' at Radio City Music Hall in New York City in March 2007.
European Pressphoto Agency/PETER FOLEY
Frank Vincent attends HBO's World Premiere of two new episodes of 'The Sopranos' at Radio City Music Hall in New York City in March 2007.

NEW YORK — Frank Vincent, a veteran character actor who often played tough guys, including mob boss Phil Leotardo on ‘‘The Sopranos,’’ died Wednesday. He was 80.

Besides Leotardo, the ruthless New York mob boss who frequently clashed with Tony Soprano on the popular HBO drama and who was memorably whacked at a service station, Mr. Vincent portrayed gangsters for director Martin Scorsese. He appeared in ‘‘Raging Bull,’’ ‘‘Goodfellas’’ — where he played Billy Batts, a made man in the Gambino crime family — and ‘‘Casino,’’ playing Frank Marino, based on real-life gangster Frank Cullotta.

Mr. Vincent had smaller 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 movies.

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His manager, Melissa Prophet, said Mr. Vincent ‘‘lived life on his terms, creating a dynamic and successful path in every endeavor he chose. His generosity and spirit extended beyond his family and closest friends, as he strived to promote new talent in the performing arts.’’

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Born in North Adams, Mass., Mr. Vincent was raised in Jersey City, N.J., where he acted in school plays and learned piano, trumpet, and drums. As an adult, he became a session drummer for such singers as Paul Anka, Del Shannon, Trini Lopez, and The Belmonts.

In 1975, he made his feature film acting debut in Ralph DeVito’s ‘‘Death Collector,’’ where he was spotted by Scorsese.

In 2006, he published ‘‘A Guy’s Guide to Being a Man’s Man.’’