Stars From The Sopranos You Didn't Know Died

Fans of "The Sopranos" mourned on June 19, 2013, the day the star of the critically acclaimed HBO show died in Rome. James Gandolfini, whose career was defined by his turn as New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano, was in Italy for the Taormina Film Festival when he had a heart attack, David Chase confirmed. "He was a genius," Chase, creator of "The Sopranos" and a longtime friend of the actor, told Deadline. "Anyone who saw him even in the smallest of his performances knows that. He is one of the greatest actors of this or any time."

Gandolfini was just 51 years old at the time, and his sudden death shocked the world. Many of the actor's former co-stars on "The Sopranos" joined David Chase in paying tribute to him, and a good number of them (including his onscreen wife, Edie Falco) attended his funeral at The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York. Gandolfini wasn't the first actor from the show to die, and, sadly, there have been several more deaths in the years since.

We've already lost way too many actors from the seminal gangster show, many of whom went under the radar after their time on "The Sopranos" was up. Here are the ones you may not know have died.

Denise Borino-Quinn (Ginny Sacrimoni)

Denise Borino-Quinn, who had no acting experience when she turned up at an open casting call for "The Sopranos" but went on to become a fan favorite on the show, died in November 2010. The cause of death was liver cancer. She was 46.

According to The New York Times, Borino-Quinn wasn't feeling overly confident when she attended that fateful casting call. She tagged along so she could offer support to a friend who was auditioning for a role, but decided that, since the call was open, she would try out herself. To her sheer disbelief, she was offered a callback and auditioned for the part of Ginny Sacrimoni, the wife of John "Johnny Sack" Sacrimoni (Vincent Curatola). A former professional dancer, Ginny went up several dress sizes after having children, the subject of one Season 4 episode. In "The Weight," Johnny orders a hit on Ralph Cifaretto (Joe Pantoliano) for cruelly poking fun at his other half, putting him on a collision course with Tony Soprano.

Tony can't stand the obnoxious Ralph, but he's one of his men and a good earner to boot, so he has no choice but to put a hit out on Johnny in retaliation. Bloodshed is narrowly avoided when Ginny is caught snacking by her husband, and they have a heart-to-heart moment. Borino-Quinn quit acting after "The Sopranos," working for a law firm instead.

John A. Costelloe (Jim 'Johnny Cakes' Witowski)

Former New York firefighter John A. Costelloe, who appeared as Jim "Johnny Cakes" Witowski during a memorable Season 6 arc of "The Sopranos," died in December 2008. "The rugged 47-year-old actor committed suicide," the New York Post confirmed after speaking to the actor's father. "It's beyond me," Michael Costelloe told the tabloid.

Costelloe's character entered the show when gay mob boss Vito Spatafore (Joseph Gannascoli) was forced to swap New Jersey for New Hampshire, fearing what would happen to him since his secret was out in the open. While laying low, he meets short-order cook Johnny Cakes and quickly falls for him. He wasn't around for long, but Costelloe made a big impression, both on-screen and behind the scenes. Co-star Joseph Gannascoli told the Post that he was "shocked" when he learned what had happened to his friend. "It still hasn't really sunk in," he said. "I never detected anything troubling about him. I enjoyed all the time I ever spent with him." Gannascoli attended the funeral, as did fellow "Sopranos" alum Steve Buscemi, who had previously worked alongside Costelloe in the FDNY.

Other notable credits include "Black Rain," "Die Hard 2," "Manhattan Murder Mystery," and "New York Undercover," in which he played mob boss John Santucci. Costelloe was performing in a well-received Off-Off-Broadway play at the time of his death.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Frank Anthony Vallelonga (Carmine Lupertazzi)

Actor Frank Anthony Vallelonga, better known as Tony Lip, died in a New Jersey hospital in 2013, family members confirmed to the Record (via the Los Angeles Times). He was 82.

Vallelonga made a career out of playing mobster types, portraying the head of a crime family on numerous occasions. According to his son, there was a point where he began using his stage name in his personal life, too. "Even my mother, Dolores, didn't know his name was Frank until they had to make up their wedding invitations back in 1958," he once said. His career as a character actor began with an uncredited appearance in "The Godfather" (he shows up as a wedding guest in Francis Ford Coppola's Mafia classic) and he would later pop up in Martin Scorsese's "Goodfellas" and Mike Newell's "Donnie Brasco" before landing a role on "The Sopranos." He portrayed Carmine Lupertazzi, head of the Lupertazzi family, until his death.

The actor served in the Army before his career in Hollywood. He later worked at the Copacabana club in Manhattan, where, according to the Times, he "met numerous celebrities of the era, including singers Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Nat 'King' Cole and Bobby Darin, as well as the kind of gangsters he would later portray."

John Heard (Vin Makazian)

Best known for playing Kevin's father, Peter McCallister, in the first two "Home Alone" movies, John Heard died after undergoing back surgery in 2017. He was discovered in a California hotel, where he had been recuperating. The cause was "a sudden cardiac death due to atherosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease," the Santa Clara County Coroner's Office ruled (via The Hollywood Reporter). He was 71.

Heard made his onscreen debut in the 1975 TV movie "Valley Forge" and appeared in a number of romantic dramas and comedies during the remainder of the decade. He had a recurring role on "Tender is the Night" in 1985, and he played the rival to Tom Hanks' grown-up Josh in "Big" in 1988. By 1990, he had aged into dad roles, and he went down in pop culture history playing the father of Macaulay Culkin. "Home Alone" cast members rushed to pay tribute to Heard when news of his sudden death was confirmed. "John Heard was the coolest cat in New York City for about 10 straight years," Daniel Stern said in a lengthy note (via Twitter).

In "The Sopranos," Heard played Vin Makazian, a corrupt New Jersey cop on Tony's payroll. Tony used him to get information about psychiatrist Jennifer Melfi, which led to Makazian beating up a male friend of the doctor. He got nominated for an Emmy for his turn as the dirty officer.

Robert Loggia (Michele 'Feech' La Manna)

Academy Award nominee Robert Loggia, who played Michele "Feech" La Manna in "The Sopranos," died in 2015. The cause was Alzheimer's Disease, his wife of 33 years told Variety. He was 85.

Loggia famously played a crime boss in Brian De Palma's "Scarface," but he was more than a gangster for hire. He got his Oscar nod for his turn as private detective Sam Ransom in the Glenn Close-Jeff Bridges thriller "Jagged Edge" and would appear as equally gritty characters in a number of other pictures. Among his credits are films like "An Officer and a Gentleman," "Prizzi's Honor," "Independence Day," "Lost Highway" and, perhaps most memorably, the Tom Hanks hit "Big;" it's Loggia that performs alongside Hanks on the giant foot-operated toy store piano.

In "The Sopranos," Loggia played an old school mob boss who was made in Sicily. Feech La Manna came up alongside the likes of Tony Soprano's dad (Giovanni "Johnny Boy" Soprano) and his uncle (Corrado "Junior" Soprano) and, like the latter, he spent a long time behind bars. He still sees Tony as a kid when he eventually gets out and fails to show him the proper respect, but, not wanting to cause waves by having the old-timer killed, Tony sets him up to get arrested and sent back to prison.

Joseph Siravo (Giovanni 'Johnny Boy' Soprano)

Washington D.C. native Joseph Siravo, who played Tony Soprano's father Giovanni "Johnny Boy" Soprano in multiple flashback scenes and dream sequences, died in 2021. The cause of death was colon cancer, his agent told Variety. He was 66.

After making his onscreen debut as a mugger in the TV movie "N.Y.P.D. Mounted," Siravo secured a role in Brian De Palma's critically acclaimed crime drama "Carlito's Way," playing Vinnie Taglialucci. Vinnie leads a gang of New York mobsters in the movie, and he's out for revenge against the titular character (Al Pacino) on behalf of his father and brother. He went on to ply his trade in projects like "The Search for One-Eye Jimmy," in which Aida Turturro (Janice from 'The Sopranos') plays a psychic, "Witness to the Mob," and Mariah Carey's "WiseGirls," but he wasn't just about Mafia movies.

Siravo played Fred Goldman, father of murder victim Ron Goldman, in "American Crime Story: The People v. O. J. Simpson," and, more recently, he appeared as an ex CIA chief in Amazon's political thriller, "The Report." He will always be remembered for "The Sopranos," however, and his former co-stars made sure to let everyone know just how highly thought of he was. "Joe was an excellent actor and a wonderful guy and he will be missed dearly," Michael Imperioli posted to Instagram. "His performance of Johnny Boy Soprano was spot on."

Frank Vincent (Phil Leotardo)

Actor Frank Vincent, who played hard men and mobsters in Martin Scorsese films "Raging Bull," "Goodfellas," and "Casino," died of complications from heart surgery in 2017. His "Sopranos" co-star Vincent Pastore (Salvatore "Puss" Bonpensiero) shared the news of his death in an email seen by The Blast. "We lost a great character actor and great man," it read. "May he always stay in our memory." He was 80.

Vincent was already well known for playing Mafia types when he landed the role of New York crime boss Phil Leotardo in "The Sopranos," but his work on the HBO show was widely recognized as some of his best. Phil Leotardo had some memorable clashes with Tony Soprano, who he viewed as an upstart from out of town. "Phil was serious," Vincent told Broadway World in 2011. "He had a job to do and he thought, you know, 'This Soprano guy is from Jersey, what does that mean? We are New Yorkers! The Jersey mob is nothing — they don't even prick their fingers when they do the ceremony.' Some of the writing for Phil was just brilliant."

Vincent was also a voice actor (video game fans will no doubt remember him as Salvatore Leone in the "Grand Theft Auto" series) and was known to step out of the crime genre on occasion (he voiced Uncle Albert in the Netflix anime "Neo Yokio").

Nancy Marchand (Livia Soprano)

Award-winning actor Nancy Marchand, who played Tony Soprano's proud and stubborn mother Livia Soprano, died in 2000. "Her daughter Katie Sparer Bowe said that no specific cause of death was given, but for several years the actress had been suffering from cancer and chronic pulmonary disease," reported The New York Times. She was 71.

A star of the stage as well as the screen, Marchand tread the boards alongside her husband, Paul Sparer, in the likes of "A Phoenix Too Frequent," "Delicate Balance," and "Love Letters." She became known as a "player of imperious roles," said The New York Times, though she wasn't a domineering person in real life. "I'm always very uncomfortable with people," she once told the paper. ”But I love people. And when I'm on the stage, I can embrace people and still feel safe."

Marchand was nominated for five Emmys during her run as Margaret Pynchon on the CBS drama series "Lou Grant," winning four of them. She later won a Golden Globe for her work on "The Sopranos," though, sadly, she didn't get to finish her arc – her final appearances were achieved with CGI, which caused controversy at the time. David Chase defended the decision, claiming that Livia was vital to the story. "I thought that was needed," he told the Chicago Tribune.

David Margulies (Neil Mink)

He appeared in over a dozen Broadway shows during his lengthy career, but David Margulies is perhaps best known for his turn as the Mayor of New York in the original "Ghostbusters" films. The actor, who later played an attorney on "The Sopranos," died from cancer in 2016, his sister told The New York Times. He was 78.

Born in Manhattan, the Jewish actor got his first taste of the stage as a teenager, starring in a show he auditioned for during a family vacation in Westchester. He made his Off-Broadway bow in 1958 when he appeared in a production called "Golden 6," and would progress to Broadway proper in the early 1970s. Around the same time, he started landing movie roles. His very first feature film was the 1971 comedy "A New Leaf" according to The New York Times. He went on to play Walter Mitty in another comedy, "Scarecrow in a Garden of Cucumbers," and by the end of the decade, he was in high demand (he appeared in four movies in 1979).

He debuted as his most famous character, Mayor Lenny, in 1984's "Ghostbusters," and reprised the role in the 1989 follow-up, "Ghostbusters 2." In later years he became best known for playing Tony Soprano's attorney Neil Mink on "The Sopranos," appearing in eight episodes (including the memorable finale) of the HBO juggernaut.

Joe Santos (Angelo 'Angie' Garepe)

Brooklyn-born actor Joe Santos, best known for his run on "The Rockford Files," died in hospital in 2016. He was on life support following a heart attack, his son told TMZ. He was 84.

Santos played Angelo Garepe on "The Sopranos," appearing in seven episodes as Carmine Lupertazzi's former Consigliere. He spent 20 years behind bars and was one of a number of mobsters released in what became known as "The Class of 2004." When Carmine died, Angelo was one of several men touted to replace him, but infighting among the Lupertazzi family erupted. Tony Soprano attempted to play peacekeeper, but Angelo was ultimately bumped off and a war between the New York and New Jersey factions seemed likely as a result. The conflict was still looming large when the series came to a close.

Prior to playing Angelo Garepe, Santos was known for cop roles. He played Los Angeles policeman Lt. Dennis Becker in "The Rockford Files" between 1974 and 1980, making a good friend of star James Garner in that time. "He's the kind of guy who lights up a set just by showing up," Garner once told TV Guide (via The Hollywood Reporter). "And there aren't too many around like that. He's so good and so professional, and he's got so much enthusiasm. He's one hell of an actor, and he's one tough little dude." He was nominated for an Emmy for his turn on the show.

Tom Aldredge (Hugh DeAngelis)

A veteran of the stage and screen Tom Aldredge, ever-present on Broadway and who later played Carmela Soprano's father Hugh DeAngelis in "The Sopranos," died of lymphoma in 2011, Variety confirmed. He was 83.

Aldredge began acting in the 1950s and was still active in the industry at the time of his death. He made his Broadway bow in 1959's "The Nervous Set" and would eventually establish himself as a go-to actor for curmudgeonly types. The Ohio native received the first of his five Tony nominations for his turn in 1971's "Sticks and Bones," a black comedy about a blind Vietnam War vet. He didn't win any, but, in 1978, Aldredge scooped an Emmy Award for his turn as William Shakespeare in the CBS special "Henry Winkler Meets William Shakespeare."

In later years, he became known for his role as Tony Soprano's father-in-law in "The Sopranos" and later in "Boardwalk Empire," another HBO hit. He won praise for his turn as Ethan Thompson, the father of Steve Buscemi's Nucky Thompson. He was also known for his work on FX's "Damages," in which he took on the role of an elderly hitman. In terms of feature films, notable credits include "Cold Mountain" and "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford."

Frances Esemplare (Nucci Gualtieri)

Much like Tony Soprano's mom, the "mother" (she's actually his biological aunt) of Peter Paul "Paulie Walnuts" Gualtieri became a firm favorite among fans of "The Sopranos." Nucci Gualtieri was portrayed by Frances Esemplare, who was best known for her time on the HBO show. Her family remembered her for her "wit" and her "sarcasm" in an obituary printed in the Staten Island Advance. She died in 2017, aged 83.

Esemplare was late to the game, earning her first onscreen credit in the 1997 film "Sue." She appeared as a patron at a New York diner in the movie, which follows a struggling young woman's (Anna Thompson) attempts to make it in the big city. She landed the role of Nucci shortly after and would play Paulie's mother/aunt in eight episodes between 2001 and 2007. It's revealed that she decided to take Paulie in as her own when her sister, Dottie, had an affair with a soldier during World War II. Dottie was training to become a nun at the time, and this was the best way to avoid a scandal. Paulie was furious when he discovered the truth, but the pair reconciled before her death.

The Staten Island native only had two other acting credits to her name: she played mothers in the 2006 movie "The Immaculate Misconception" and the 2007 short film "The Hit," her final appearance.