Sopranos star Tony Lip dies at 82

Actor played crime boss Carmine Lupertazzi in the epic series and had roles in Goodfellas and The Godfather

Tony Lip, the actor best known for playing New York crime family boss Carmine Lupertazzi in 'The Sopranos', has died aged 82.

The actor, born Frank Anthony Vallelonga but known as Tony Lip because of his powers of persuasion and talkative nature, made his debut on screen as a wedding guest in 'The Godfather'.

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Tony Lip... with fellow Sopranos star Frank Vincent (L) (Copyright: Rex)

He then went on to land a series of roles in films including 'Goodfellas' and 'Raging Bull' with Martin Scorsese, and 'Donnie Brasco'.

But it was as Carmine Lupertazzi on the epic HBO series that he made his name, the measured leader of the Brooklyn-based New York outfit.

Lip grew up near in The Bronx area of New York, and was a maitre'd at the infamous Copacobana club in New York.

There he rubbed shoulders with the likes of Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra, and met Francis Ford Coppola who cast him in 'The Godfather'.

He also co-wrote the Italian cookbook 'Shut Up and Eat!', which featured his stuffed calamari alongside recipes from the likes of Chazz Palminteri, Danny Aiello and his 'Sopranos' co-stars James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco and Edie Falco.

He died in hospital in Teaneck, New Jersey, survived by his sons Nick Vellalonga and Frank Vellalonga Jr.