Sirico was investigated by the Manhattan District Attorney's office for alleged extortionate activity against the owners of several nightclubs. On February 27, 1970, he was arrested and subsequently indicted for extortion and menacing but plea-bargained to a charge of felony gun possession. Early in 1971, he was sentenced to a maximum of four years, of which he served 20 months. Since then, Sirico has had no further trouble with the law. He got a part in the film Crazy Joe (1974) which led to him obtaining a Screen Actors Guild card.
His brother, Robert Sirico, is a Catholic priest in the diocese of Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Has done Stacker 2 commercials with WWE wrestlers Tazz, Trish Stratus and Bubba Ray Dudley.
Lives in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn
Has a son and a daughter, both in their 30s.
Practices Karate and Kung Fu
Frequently cast as a bit player in Woody Allen movies.
A member of the USO.
An Italian-American, of Sicilian descent.
He spent a few years in the US Army.
When I first read David Chase's script [for "The Sopranos" (1999)], I knew this was special. This is what I'd been looking for all my life . . . When I heard James Gandolfini, Edie Falco, Michael Imperioli and Nancy Marchand were in it, I knew it was going to be a total class act. I knew right away this was a role to kill for.
I've done like 45 movies, played 40 gangsters and five crooked cops.
It makes some great movies. I mean, some of my favorite films growing up, have been, forgive me, gangster films. I learned how to walk and talk watching [James Cagney]. It's that, it's the power, it's the glamor. The mob just has all that mysticism around it that's magical.
[on being cast in 'The Sopranos'] I read for Uncle Junior. It was me, Dominic Chianese and Frank Vincent who went up for the role that day. About an hour after I got home, I got a call from David Chase. He said, 'You want the good news or the bad news?' I said, 'Give me the bad news'. He said, 'You didn't get Uncle Junior. But I have something in mind. Would you be willing to do a recurring role on the show? I have a character called Paulie Walnuts.
I lived with Ma for sixteen years before she passed. David [Chase] knew that going in. This became one of my story lines. Sticking to the script - that was Rule No, 1. They got the words from us anyway, We'd have the writers sit and talk with us. They heard the cadence of my voice and what I said, and how I expressed myself - you know what I mean? So I had guys out down my own words and shove them right back into my throat.
I got the script that I had to kill a woman, and I ran to David. I said, 'David, don't make me kill a woman', He said, 'No, you've got to kill her'. I said, 'Then let me shoot her'. He said, 'No, it's got to be personal'. I said, 'David, I come from a tough neighborhood. If I go home and they see I killed a woman, it's going to make me look bad'. He smiled, and said, 'No, you've got to do it'. Here's the thing. We did the scene. I had to smother her. First he wanted me to strangle her. 'I said, 'No, I'm not putting my hands on her'. He said, 'Use the pillow'. After it was all said and done, I went back to the neighborhood, and nobody said a word. They loved the show. They didn't care what we did.
Killing BIg Pussy - I'll be honest with you. that bothered us. Actors don't work every week, and all of a sudden Vinny [Pastore] had a movie. He said he needed the space to do this movie. This is the first year. They let him go. The second year, Vinny did the same thing, early on. He wouldn't take no for an answer, and they let him do the movie. But, hey, he only did two years on the show, and let me tell you, he's still Big Pussy wherever he goes.
(2008) Doing Denny's commercials
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