Tony Sirico‘s career peaked with his delicious Paulie Walnuts character in The Sopranos. Paulie’s feet were always firmly planted and he always came from a real place (there was no trouble believing that he could be malicious and predatory), but a good portion of the time he was funny.

Especially during the two calico cat scenes inside Satriale’s upstairs meeting room. And the entire brilliant Pine Barrens episode. And the scene when James Gandolfini‘s Tony discovered that Paulie had restored the painting of himself (dressed as an 18th Century general) and Pie-Oh-My, and hung it in his living room.

Sirico was a solid, reliable New York character actor (I enjoyed his banter in James Toback‘s The Big Bang) and a good guy off-screen, but Paulie made him a legend and vice versa.

Sirico has died at age 79.

Wiki excerpt regarding The Big Bang: