The Sopranos star Frank Pellegrino has passed away tragically on January 31, at the age of 72. The actor will not only be remembered for his iconic role in the hugely acclaimed TV show but also for how he turned his legendary New York restaurant into a must-stop!
“When we lost Frankie, New York City lost a piece of itself. He was one of the greatest guys in the world,” his close friend and renowned private investigator Bo Dietl stated.
Known for playing an FBI chief out to catch mob boss Tony Soprano on the HBO drama, Frank’s hugely entertaining personality made 120-year-old Rao’s restaurant a haven for politicians, celebs, cops and gangsters alike.
“Frankie was one of the most entertaining guys in the world,” Bo claimed about his late close friend.
“We’d have the jukebox going, and he’d get the whole place to stand up and start singing.”
Rao’s most iconic dinners were attended by the most iconic of stars as well. Some of the A-list celebrities who have stopped by Frank’s restaurant are Julia Roberts, Denzel Washington, Billy Joel, Jimmy Fallon and Jay Z — along with director Martin Scorsese, who is also the one who cast Frank in his mob flick “Goodfellas,” and used the East Harlem pasta joint in a scene in “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
Furthermore, frequent diner Rinaldo “Copa” Nistico also paid tribute to the late actor, saying that “Frank was part of the fabric of New York. He charmed friends and customers alike, as only he could. We have lost a great man.”
“Frankie was the center of attention because he made people feel great,” Bo added. “If you had a problem, you went into Rao’s, talked to Frankie and all your problems went away.”