(CNN) Actor Tony Serico, best known for his role as Peter Paul “Polly Walnuts” Gualtieri in the HBO series The Sopranos, has died, according to his manager Bob McGowan.
As per his IMDB profile, he was 79 years old.
McGowan did not specify a cause of death, but with 25 years of experience described Serico as “a very loyal and long-serving customer” and someone who “always gives to charity.”
Serico’s Supranos co-star, Michael Empirioli, also shared the news on Instagram that Serico passed away on Friday.
“Tony was like no other: he was as calm, loyal and generous as I have ever been,” he wrote. “I’ve been with him a lot of times: both good and bad. But mostly good. And we laughed a lot.”
Serico, who lived in Brooklyn, starred in films such as The Godfells, The Mighty Aphrodite and Mickey Blue Eyes in the late 80s and 90s.
But she became widely known—particularly in cable TV families—thanks to The Supranos, where she played a colorful but brutal role when she needed it, Paulie Walnut.
During the audition, as he recalled in an interview, he was 55 years old and slept on his mother’s couch. She auditioned for a different role, but producer David Chase offered her another role, which proved itself famous.
“He said, ‘Do you want good news or bad news?’ Serico recalled in a 2021 interview. “I said, ‘Give me the bad news.’ “You didn’t get Uncle Junior,” he said. But I have something on my mind. Would you like to have a recurring role in the series? I have a character named Polly Walnuts.”
After the show ended, Serico appeared in shows such as Lily Hammer, The Grinder and Family Guy.
But The Supranos — thanks to the show’s newfound popularity via streaming — was his most memorable work.
“We have had success as Christopher and Paulie and I am proud to be doing my best and most enjoyable work with my dear friend Tony,” said Empiroli. “I will remember him forever. He is truly irreplaceable. I send love to his family, friends and his many fans. He was loved and will never be forgotten. My heart is broken today.”
Michael Gandolfini, son of the late Supernos star James Gandolfini, also paid tribute to Serico on Instagram.
“Tony Serico was one of the most kind, dedicated and honest people I know,” he wrote. “He was always Tony’s uncle to me and Tony was always visible to me and my family. I will remember his patches on my cheeks and his infectious laughter. He was an extraordinary actor and a better person.”