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Frank Pellegrino Sr., Rao's Restaurateur and Actor, Dead at 72

The actor, who had a support role on The Sopranos from 1999 to 2004, died on Tuesday in New York City following a battle with lung cancer. Mr. Scorsese later filmed a scene from his movie The Wolf of Wall Street at the restaurant. He also appeared in "Goodfellas" as Johnny Dio and had roles in "Law & Order", "Mickey Blue Eyes", "Copland" and "New York Undercover". "There's nobody like him, he's an icon". "I am going to miss my best friend, he was one of the bravest guys I ever met", Dietl added.

Pellegrino was diagnosed with lung cancer a year ago, but those close to him believed he was winning in the battle, according to the New York Daily News. You see Frankie loved to sing to his patrons and that night as he was belting out The Temptation's classic My Girl, he turned to Buffett (and) sang: 'I don't need no money, fortune or fame.

Many Rao's regulars were expected to gather at the restaurant to pay tribute to Frankie on Tuesday night. Pellegrino, whose survivors include his wife, Josephine; daughter, Angela Pellegrino; and son, Frank Pellegrino Jr., who runs the Rao's locations in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, was also an actor. Dietl said Pellegrino passed away with his family at his side at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York City.

More news: Former President George HW Bush to handle Super Bowl LI coin toss

It dates back to 1896 and has been deemed one of the hardest restaurants to get into by The New York Post. His character on "The Sopranos" appeared throughout eleven episodes of the show.

Friend Charles Gasparino, a senior correspondent for Fox Business Network, wrote on Facebook about Pellegrino's passing saying that the owner had a "tough exterior but had a heart of gold".

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