‘Goodfellas’, ‘Sopranos’ actor Frank Pellegrino dies, aged 72

The screen, music and food icon passed away - aged 72

‘Goodfellas’ and ‘Sopranos’ actor Frank Pellegrino has died, aged 72 after losing a battle with lung cancer.

Pellegrino played FBI Chief Frank Cubitoso in ‘The Sopranos’ and Johnny Dio in ‘Goodfellas’. He also had roles in ‘Law & Order’ and ‘FBI’, as well as being a member of the ’60s singing group The Holidaes.

Not only that, but he was also a celebrated restaurateur – co-owning the famous Rao’s in New York, which featured on screen in ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’, ‘Law & Order’, ‘Top Chef’ and in Jay Z’s ‘DOA’ music video. His love of food also saw him pen the books ‘Rao’s Cookbook’, ‘Rao’s Recipes from the Neighborhood’ and ‘Rao’s on the Grill’.


Rao’s will be closed for a week as a mark of respect following his death.

Paying tribute on Facebook, his family wrote: “Sad day for me: My good friend Frankie Pellegrino died this afternoon after a bout with lung cancer.

“Most people know frank as the owner of Rao’s, the super exclusive Italian restaurant in the old neighbourhood of East Harlem, and from his various acting gigs (ie Goodfellas, The Sopranos).”

They continued: “To say Frank was a NY legend is an understatement–he bled this city and its egalitarian promise. People love to talk how no one can get a table at Rao’s, Well that’s true but it misses the point. The tables were given out to old time customers when the place became hot some years ago. New entrants needed to wait their turn to “own” a table, and it didn’t matter who they were.

“Frank im going to miss you screaming at me that is until we meet on the other side. RIP my friend.”