Frank Adonis, the veteran character actor best known for “Goodfellas” and with a long list of credits dating back more than 40 years, has died, according to his wife, Denise Adonis. He was 83.
Denise Adonis said he died Wednesday night in Las Vegas, after several years of illness due to kidney problems. She told TMZ and Fox News he had been on dialysis and was on a ventilator for nine days, but they waited until after Christmas to take him off it.
“He fought a good fight. It was rough. He was in too much pain and he wanted to go – he told us he wanted to go,” Denise Adonis told Fox.
“We’re devastated,” she continued. “It’s going to be hard, but we’ll get through it.”
USA TODAY reached out to Adonis for comment.
Born Frank Testaverde Scioscia in Brooklyn on October 27, 1935, Adonis was known for his roles in movies as varied as “Goodfellas” (1990) and “Raging Bull” (1980) to “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” (1994) and “Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai” (1999).
He was in such films and TV series as “Mob Queen” (1998), “The Sopranos” (2000), “Mafioso: The Father, the Son” (2001), and in a 2004 episode of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.”
According to his IMDb page, his first screen role was uncredited, when he played a bidder at a New York car auction in a scene in “The French Connection” in 1971. His most recent role was in 2017 in “Proximity to Power.”
But Martin Scorsese’s mob opera “Goodfellas” may be the most famous movie in his credits list. An adaptation of the 1985 nonfiction book “Wiseguy” by Nicholas Pileggi, who co-wrote the screenplay with Scorsese, the film is the story of the rise and fall of mobster Henry Hill, a real-life associate of the Lucchese organized-crime family of New York, and his friends and family from 1955 to 1980.
Also starring Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Paul Sorvino and Lorraine Bracco, the film documents the infamous $6 million Lufthansa Airline robbery of 1978 and the resulting mayhem among Lucchese-connected participants, according to The Mob Museum of the National Museum of Organized Crime & Law Enforcement.
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