Longtime MNN producer Vinny Vella has passed at age 72 after a long battle with liver cancer. A true raconteur, bon vivant, and man about town, Vinny was born on Bleecker Street and was a lifelong resident of Little Italy.
After a one-line speaking role in “The French Connection” (1971) he went on to receive over 70 acting credits. He worked with directors such as Sidney Lumet, Jim Jarmusch, and Martin Scorsese. He is also remembered for his portrayal of Jimmy Petrille on HBO’s “The Sopranos”. Vinny appeared with longtime friend Robert De Niro in Scorsese’s “Casino” (1995), considered by many to be Scorsese’s best film.
Vinny and De Niro (who was best man at Vinny’s wedding) will be featured in the long-anticipated Martin Scorsese biopic of Jimmy Hoffa, “The Irishman” with Al Pacino.
Erik Hoover, Vella’s representative, told Fox News:
“Vinny also had integrity and pride rarely seen.
Arguably the fastest on the draw, king of the comebacks.
His verbal jousting was legendary but many know Vinny for his favorite saying - 'Who's better than you?'"
Vinny is survived by his wife Margaret-Anne, and his children Benjamin and Anthony Hernandez, Lauren and Jennifer Vella, and Vinny Vella Jr., who resides in Florida with his wife and two children.
Repeats of Vinny’s MNN show “Tell It Like It Is” can be seen Saturdays at 7pm on MNN 2 (Spectrum Channel 56 & 1996, Fios Channel 34, and RCN Channel 83). It is also streamed live.