The Sopranos actor Richard Romanus dies aged 78
Posted by  badge Boss on Dec 31, 2023 - 02:10AM
Richard Romanus died in hospital aged 78 (Picture: American Broadcasting Companies via Getty Images)

Richard Romanus has died aged 78.

Famed for playing tough-guy roles, Romanus is best known for his role in ’s classic in which he played Michael Longo.

He was also a talented voice actor, appearing in roles including for Wizards in 1977 as Weehark, and in 1982’s Hey Good Lookin’ as the leader of the gang, and he also played cabie Harry Canyon in animated classic Heavy Metal.

The Mean Streets actor was in a private hospital in Greece when he died on December 23, his son has confirmed to .

Romanus appeared in four episodes of The Sopranos where he played the on-off husband of Lorraine Bracco’s Jennifer Melfi, Richard LaPenna.

He appeared in the episodes from 1999 to 2002.

Romanus’ role in Mean Streets was a breakthrough for the actor (Picture: Warner Brothers/Getty Images)

Romanus was born on February 8 1943 in Vermont, and he was raised in Connecticut.

He left Xavier University in Cincinanati in 1964 with a philosophy degree and pivoted to law for a year before he set his sights on acting.

At Lee Strasberg Romanus learnt his craft, before he bagged a role in episodes of Mission: Impossible and The Mod Squad, as well as Night chase before he got the Scorsese call.

In his role in Mean Streets, Romanus famously got into a spat with Robert De Niro’s character Johnny Civello.

In the iconic scene, Scorsese recalled in Andy Dougan’s 2011 book, Untouchable: Robert De Niro how the rage in the scene between the two actors came from a genuine place.

‘Something had happened between Bobby and Richard because the animosity between them in that scene is real, and I played on it,’ the director said.

Romanus as The Killer in Night Terror (Photo by: NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

‘They had gotten on each other’s nerves to the point where I think they really wanted to kill each other. I kept shooting take after take of Bobby yelling all these insults while the crew was getting very upset.’

Other notable roles include Romanus’ ongoing part as Det. Lt. Charlie Gunzer on ABC crime show Strike Force in the early 80s.

He also played a cop again in Foul Play, and appeared in other films such as Sitting Ducks, Protocol, and Cops and Robbersons.

As for TV work outside The Sopranos, Romanus appeared in Hill Street Blues, The A-Team, MacGyver, Cagney & Lacey and NYPD Blue.