The Sopranos star Frank Pellegrino — who passed away at age 72 on Jan. 31 — will be forever remembered for turning his legendary New York City restaurant into a must-stop!
"When we lost Frankie, New York City lost a piece of itself. He was one of the greatest guys in the world," his close friend and renowned private investigator Bo Dietl told RadarOnline.com.
Known for playing an FBI chief out to handcuff mobster Tony Soprano on the HBO drama, Frankie's infectious personality made 120-year-old Rao's restaurant a haven for politicians, celebs, cops and gangsters.
"Frankie was one of the most entertaining guys in the world," Bo told RadarOnline.com.
"We'd have the jukebox going, and he'd get the whole place to stand up and start singing."
Rao's famous diners have included Julia Roberts, Denzel Washington, Billy Joel, Jimmy Fallon and Jay Z — along with director Martin Scorsese, who cast Frank in his mob flick "Goodfellas," and used the East Harlem pasta joint in a scene in "The Wolf of Wall Street."
Frequent diner Rinaldo "Copa" Nistico also paid tribute: "Frank was part of the fabric of New York. He charmed friends and customers alike, as only he could. We have lost a great man."
"Frankie was the center of attention because he made people feel great," Bo added. "If you had a problem, you went into Rao's, talked to Frankie and all your problems went away."
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