"Sopranos" & "Goodfellas" actor Frank Vincent, dead at 80

Frank Vincent

Frank Vincent

Apparently, Robert De Niro saw that movie and showed it to Martin Scorsese, who was impressed with both Vincent and Pesci.

Vincent's family issued a statement Thursday, obtained by CNN through his publicist Morgan Pesante. He reportedly suffered a heart attack last week and was undergoing open-heart surgery today, but he died from complications during the operation.

According to IMDb, Vincent was slated to play roles in five upcoming projects-among them were "The Italy Boys", now in pre-production and expected to star Tom Sizemore and Danny Aiello, and "Asbury Park", also in pre-production and expected to feature Vincent's former frequent cast-mate and close friend Joe Pesci.

"Our family will never forget the Leotardo legacy", HBO wrote Wednesday night, posting a photo of Vincent smiling and smoking a cigar.

Vincent's other film credits include The Pope of Greenwich Village (1984) and Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing (1989).

Depending on your mafia drama of choice, Vincent was either best known as Billy Batts in Goodfellas or Phil Leotardo in The Sopranos. The New Jersey native's first Scorsese film was 1980's Raging Bull, followed by Goodfellas in 1990, and Casino in 1995.

The actor "died peacefully on Wednesday, a statement from his family said", according to The Associated Press. Joe Pesci and I had the chemistry anyway, from playing together for years.

Throughout the '90s and early 2000s, Vincent made a number of TV appearance and even voiced characters for the Grand Theft Auto series of video games.

The actor was born in North Adams, Mass., but grew up in Jersey City.

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