Actor Vinny Vella, well-known for his turn in “Casino” and other popular gangster movies, has died following a battle with liver cancer. He was 72.
News of his death was shared on Vella’s Facebook page late Wednesday alongside a black-and-white photograph and tribute to the late actor.
“Vinny loved life from his family to his friends and fans and he was easily one of the funniest, endearing actors to have ever graced the screen,” the post reads. “Vinny also had integrity and pride rarely seen. Arguably fastest on the draw, king of the comebacks.”
Vella, a native New Yorker with some 70 acting credits to his name, was most memorably featured as the deli owner Artie Piscano alongside Robert De Niro in Martin Scorsese’s 1995 crime classic “Casino.” Vella would again share the big screen with De Niro in the 2002 film “Analyze That.”
He also has several smaller credits to his name in films including “Donnie Brasco,” “Kill the Irishman” and “Find Me Guilty.” Vella appeared in five seasons of the hit HBO mobster series “The Sopranos” as Jimmy Petrille, the double-crossing consigliere.
“His verbal jousting was legendary but many know Vinny for his favorite saying — ‘Who’s better than you?’ ” the Facebook tribute concludes. “Well Vinny, I think we can all agree on the answer to that, it was you, it always was you! We miss you my boy!”
Vella is survived by his wife, Margaret Hernandez, and his son, Vincent Vella Jr., who left a comment honoring his father on Facebook.
“RIP to my father,” he wrote. “I love you so much and I’m so heart broken. You are no longer in pain — no more suffering pops. I love you.”
Schladebeck writes for the New York Daily News