DOCUMENT: Celebrity, Crime

From Sing Sing To Bada Bing!

Tony Sirico's real-life training for his "Sopranos" role

Tony Sirico

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Tony Sirico Felony Affidavit

Sirico Sentencing Transcript

There's a good reason Tony Sirico is so convincing as the menacing Paulie Walnuts on "The Sopranos." Because before becoming an actor, Sirico was a mob-connected thug who dealt speed, packed a loaded Beretta, and was once actually declared a "danger to society" by a New York judge.

In fact, according to court records that read like a David Chase script, Sirico was a feared shakedown artist who preyed on Manhattan nightclubs and who once gave this description of his extortion technique: "You hit them over the head with a baseball bat, and they come around." After a dispute with a disco owner, Sirico once warned, "I'm going to come back here and carve my initials in your forehead. You better learn a lesson, you better show me the respect I deserve." A Bellevue Hospital psychiatric report from that period concluded that Sirico suffered from a "character disorder."

The court records obtained by The Smoking Gun involve Sirico's 1971 conviction for felony weapons possession, a crime for which he was sentenced to a maximum of four years in prison. Sirico ended up serving 20 months in places like Sing Sing, and has, to his credit, avoided trouble since (if you don't count clipping Pussy last season).

We've included the felony affidavit filed against Sirico (who was born Genaro Sirico) and the marvelous transcript from his sentencing, which includes an entertaining narrative offered by prosecutor Gerard Hinckley--it's a must-read for "Sopranos" fans. TSG's favorite section involves a botched police tail of Sirico that ends with the future Mr. Walnuts's auto deftly forcing the unmarked car--Bada Bing!--into a traffic divider.

Criminal court felony affidavit (1 page)

Sirico sentencing transcript (15 pages)