Casino, Sopranos Actor Vinny Vella Dead At 71

Vinny Vella Casino Sopranos

Vinny Vella [Courtesy of Paul Stone/Su-City Pictures East, LLC]

Actor Vinny Vella has died. According to a post on Vella’s personal Facebook page made presumably by a family member, Vella passed away late Wednesday, February 20. He was 71. View the heartfelt Facebook post below:

We are saddened to report that Vinny Vella has passed and I’m sure that no one more saddened than himself. Vinny loved life from his family to his friends and fans he was easily one of the funniest, endearing actors to have ever graced the screen. Vinny also had integrity and pride rarely seen. Arguably the fastest on the draw, king of the comebacks. His verbal jousting was legendary but many know Vinny for his favorite saying – ‘Who’s better than you?’ Well Vinny, I think we all can agree on the answer to that, it was you, it always was you! We miss you my boy!”

A New York City native, Vella gained notoriety for his role as Artie Piscano in Martin Scorsese‘s 1995 masterpiece Casino starring Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Sharon Stone. In 1999, Vella was cast as Jimmy Petrille on the legendary HBO series The Sopranos. Vella played the character for five seasons from 1999-2004. Vella recently posted on Facebook about the 20th anniversary of the show’s premiere:

“It’s hard to believe but today, January 10th [2019], is the 20th anniversary of the debut of The Sopranos. Being a part of this show, often called the greatest show ever, was one of the great highlights of my career. People will still be watching The Sopranos 100 years from now. When I think about the people involved, it was really so many old and dear friends for me. When you get a chance remember and raise a glass in memory of some great friends and great talent from The Sopranos that we, sadly, lost over the years. Frank Albanese, Tony Lip (Go see ‘Green Book,’ the great movie based on his life), Frank Vincent and, of course, James Gandolfini. I also want to mention Artie Pasquale, Tony Ray Rossi, Vincent Pastore, Dominic Chianese, Tony Sirico, Federico Castelluccio and William Demeo. It’s and honor being associated with all of you and I’m so happy that we were all a part of this great show!”

Throughout his career, Vinny Vella also appeared in Donnie Brasco (1997), Rounders (1998), Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samuri (1999), Analyze That (2002), In The Cut (2003), and Find Me Guilty (2006). In 2004, Vella had a role in the Law & Order episode “Everybody Loves Raimondo’s.

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