The Sopranos Cast Remembers Tony Sirico

The Sopranos star Toni Sirico passed away on Friday at the age of 79 and now, his co-stars from the iconic HBO series are remembering the Peter Paul "Paulie Walnuts" Gualtieri actor, remembering him as "truly irreplaceable" and not only a "stand up guy" but a good friend as well.

On Instagram, Lorraine Bracco, who played Jennifer Melfi, wrote about how Sirico always had her back and cared about not only her, but her family as well, writing that she has a lifetime of memories of the actor — and that she hope's he's cracking everyone up in heaven.

"I adore Tony Sirico. A stand up guy who always had my back and who loved my children and my parents," Bracco wrote. "I have a lifetime of memories with Tony — starting with Goodfellas to The Sopranos and way beyond — but my God, did we have fun doing the Bensonhurst Spelling Bee — I'm still laughing. I hope he's in heaven cracking everybody up now. Love you, my Pal…rest in peace."

The Sopranos creator David Chase also had high praise in remembering Sirico, calling the actor a "jewel".

"The Way Buddhists refer to a jewel — a supernatural and a master. But certainly not a Zen master. He was so uproarious, so funny, so talented," Chase said (via Deadline). "I'm very happy for him that in his mid-fifties and sixties he finally learned how talented and loved he was. I was just thinking about him yesterday, strangely enough, and was reminded that he was a main reason for the success of The Sopranos. I will miss him greatly, Gennaro. As will the world."

"It pains me to say that my dear friend, colleague and partner in crime, the great TONY SIRICO has passed away today," The Sopranos star Michael Imperioli wrote on Instagram. "Tony was like no one else: he was as tough as loyal and as big hearted as anyone I've ever known. I was at his side through so much: through good times and bad. But mostly good. And we had a lot of laughs. We found a groove as Christopher and Paulie and I am proud to say I did a lot of my best and most fun work with my dear pal Tony. I will miss him forever. He is truly irreplaceable. I send love to his family, friends, and his many many fans. He was beloved and will never be forgotten. Heartbroken today."

Born in New York City on July 29, 1942, Sirico was arrested 28 different times before becoming interested in acting amid a stint in prison, following a visit from an acting troupe composed of ex-convicts. Sirico made his onscreen debut as an extra in the 1974 film Crazy Joe. He proceeded to make appearances in programs like Kojak, Police Squad!, and Miami Vice. Sirico often portrayed gangster characters in a number of films and television shows, including GoodfellasMob QueenMighty AphroditeLove and MoneyFingersThe One Man JuryDefianceThe Last FightInnocent BloodBullets over BroadwayThe Pick-up ArtistMuppets Christmas: Letters to Santa, and Gotti. 

Following The Sopranos, Sirico's work included voicing Vinny Griffin on Family Guy, portraying Tony Tagliano on Lilyhammer, and appearing in projects like The Grinder and Sarah Q. Sirico's posthumous work will include roles in Super Athlete, Street Justice, and All Mobbed Up.