Martin Scorsese on Frank Vincent: "He Made It Look Easy"

"He made it look easy in all respects. He was genuine," Martin Scorsese wrote in a tribute to his friend Frank Vincent.

"Frank Vincent was someone I could count on. He was a natural who was at ease in front of the camera — on a set or on a stage."

Vincent died Wednesday of complications from heart surgery. He was 80. 

Scorsese directed him in three films, all classics: Raging Bull (1980), Goodfellas (1990), and Casino (1995). Vincent's screen debut, The Death Collector, is also a must-see for fans. (Mikie Scars highly recommends it too.)

Vincent's career probably reached its pinnacle with his turn as Phil Leotardo, boss of a New York crime family on The Sopranos.

"We worked together on three pictures, each time with his old partner Joe Pesci, and I always marveled at his genius for improvisation. He was a hard-working actor, he understood the world we were portraying so well that he really didn't appear to be acting at all.

"I will always marvel at his artistry, and consider myself lucky to have had the chance to work with him and to know him."

Vincent secured his status in the Hollywood Parthenon of timeless classics with his bit role as Billy Batts in Goodfellas. (Listen to the dialogue closely: "You bought your button!" Pesci's character shouts in the scene, while the Batts character casually admits as Tommy hurries out, "I used to f-ck kids like that in the ass in the can." We wrote about the DeSimone character in-depth in Who Really Killed Tommy DeSimone?

Tony Sirico, who played Peter Paul (Paulie Walnuts) Gualtieri on The Sopranos told THR, "We had a lot of fun together. Great guy. Well respected. Great actor.

"All I can say is we had a lot of fun," he added. "On the show, his character was working with another mob and I didn't get a piece of the action with Frank before Leotardo [Vincent's character] died. But, everybody loved Frankie."

Vincent's big-screen credits also included The Pope of Greenwich Village (1984), Brian De Palma's Wise Guys (1986), Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing (1989) and Jungle Fever (1991), Sidney Lumet's Night Falls on Manhattan (1996), James Mangold's Cop Land (1997), Shark Tale (2004) and Chicago Overcoat (2009).

Vincent also authored the 2006 book A Guy’s Guide to Being a Man’s Man.


  1. Gotta love him as Phil Leotardo. Completely bitter at all times. Reflects on his taking Tony's hand in friendship and also the bastardization of his family name upon entering America. Hates himself and everyone around him. Minimizes the whole Jersey Family as " This Pygmy Thing out in Jersey, They make anyone and do it all wrong, No saint, no pin prick. This thing either has meaning or it doesn't. I say lets decapitate and do business with whatever is left". Absolutely nailed that role as the angry old school Mobster who spent most of his life in prison. Didn't even wanna be the boss but went straight to work getting shit done as soon as he held the power. In the end Butchie apparently had enough of the angry Phil.

    He was a good actor and was perfect for that role. Too bad he didn't have more opportunities to do more films. I liked him anyway. Puffdaugherty


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