“The Sopranos” co-star and famed Manhattan restaurateur Frank Pellegrino Sr. died Tuesday in New York after a battle with lung cancer. He was 72. 

Pellegrino co-owned the East Harlem celebrity hotspot Rao’s and appeared in “Goodfellas,” “CopLand” and, like any self-respecting New York actor, multiple episodes of “Law & Order,” in addition to his most high-profile role, that of tenacious FBI Chief Frank Cubitoso on HBO’s iconic mob series.

“Rao’s may be over 100 years old, but the person who made Rao’s what it is was Frankie,” his friend Bo Dietl tells the New York Post’s Page Six. “It is a place that is so unique because of him and it not going to be the same without him. He was big-hearted and generous and always Betebet took care of people. What a shining star and a big personality, I will miss singing along with him every Thursday night.” 

The Rao’s empire extends to Las Vegas and Los Angeles and includes several cookbooks. He is survived by his wife Josephine and two children. 

Vicki Hyman may be reached at vhyman@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @vickihy or like her on Facebook. Find NJ.com/Entertainment on Facebook, and check out Remote Possibilities, the TV podcast from Vicki Hyman and co-host Erin Medley on iTunesStitcher or Spreakeror listen below or here.

Ep. 63: Why we can’t stop watching ‘The Affair’ and ‘Quantico’


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