Genaro Anthony Sirico Jr. (born July 29, 1942) is an American actor, best known for his role as Paul "Paulie Walnuts" Gualtieri in The Sopranos and various roles in the films of Woody Allen.
Sirico was born in New York City, New York on July 29, 1942.
As a teenager, Sirico was part of a street gang which had feuds with communities of African-Americans and the Irish. He later recalled that he was shot on the steps of St Brendan's Catholic Church in Brooklyn, by a rival Irish thug.
Before turning to acting, he was convicted of several crimes and had been arrested 28 times. In 1967, he was sent to prison for robbing a Brooklyn after-hours club, but was released after serving 13 months. In 1971, he pleaded guilty to felony weapons possession and was sentenced to an "indeterminate" prison term of up to four years, of which he ended up serving 20 months. It is alleged that he was an associate of Colombo crime family captain Jimmy "Green Eyes" Clemenza during the late 1960s to mid 1970s. In a 1989 interview, Sirico has admitted that he has spent prison time within several penitentiaries including Woodbourne, Sing Sing and Wallkill. In 1999, he and Sopranos co-star Vincent Pastore were seen meeting Clemenza and his brother, a Colombo soldier, at a Christmas party in Little Italy; Clemenza was under FBI surveillance at the time. He has said that during his imprisonment, he was visited by an acting troupe composed of ex-convicts, which inspired him to give acting a try. According to a court transcript, at the time of his sentencing, he also had pending charges for drug possession. He appeared in a 1989 documentary about life, The Big Bang, by James Toback, in which he discussed his earlier life.
His first confirmed role in film was in Crazy Joe in 1974, with the help of Richard Castellano. Sirico has played gangsters in a number of films, including Goodfellas, Mob Queen, Mighty Aphrodite, Love and Money, Fingers, The One Man Jury, Defiance, The Last Fight, Innocent Blood, Bullets over Broadway, The Pick-up Artist, Gotti, The Search for One-eye Jimmy, Cop Land, Turn of Faith, Hello Again, and Mickey Blue Eyes.
He also played policemen in the films Dead Presidents and Deconstructing Harry. Sirico's most acclaimed acting job was that of Paulie Gualtieri in David Chase's Emmy award winning drama, The Sopranos. He originally auditioned for the role of Uncle Junior with Frank Vincent, however Dominic Chianese landed the role. David Chase instead offered him the role of playing Paulie Gualtieri, Sirico agreed under the condition that his character would not "become a rat".
In late 2013, he voiced the character of Vinny Griffin, who was the family's pet dog in Family Guy (replacing Brian Griffin after his death; Brian would later be saved via time travel two episodes after Vinny's debut). Sirico also made a live-action cameo in the episode "Stewie, Chris, & Brian's Excellent Adventure", where he threatens Stewie, who had insulted Italians, calling them "ridiculous people".
In 2018, he reunited with former Sopranos actors, Federico Castelluccio and Vincent Pastore, in Sarah Q.
Sirico and James Gandolfini with a member of the U.S. Air Force during a USO visit to Southwest Asia
Sirico's brother, Robert Sirico, is a Catholic priest and co-founder of the free-market Acton Institute.
Sirico has stated that he is a Republican.