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'The French Connection' star dies at 87

'The French Connection' star dies at 87
'The French Connection' star dies at 87

 


Actor Tony Lo Bianco, best known for his role in the film “The French Connection,” has died. He was 87 years old.

His representative confirmed Wednesday that he died of prostate cancer.

“Tony Lo Bianco passed away last night at his horse farm in Maryland after a battle with prostate cancer,” the rep told Fox News read.

“His wife, Alyse, was by his side,” the spokesperson added.

Tony Lo Bianco in New York on April 17, 2023. Variety via Getty Images
Tony Lo Bianco and his wife Alyse in New York on November 12, 2018. WireImage

Lo Bianco was born and raised in Brooklyn. He was inspired to become an actor by his high school drama teacher, Patricia Jacobsen.

“For me, everything is a lesson,” he said in an interview with Our voice Last year. Ms. Jacobson taught me about awareness on stage. How to sit, how to move, how to attract the audience.

Tony Lo Bianco in 1984. ABC

After serving as a Golden Gloves boxer, Lo Bianco began his career in the performing arts as an understudy in the 1964 Broadway production of “Incident at Vichy.”

He made his film debut in “The Sexual Perils of Paulette” in 1965 and his television debut in an episode of “Get Smart” in 1966.

Tony Lo Bianco in the TV movie “Marciano”. ABC

Lo Bianco's most famous film role was as gangster Sal Boca in William Friedkin's 1971 neo-noir action film, “The French Connection.” The film also starred Gene Hackman, Fernando Rey and Roy Scheider and won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Tony Lo Bianco in “The French Connection”. 20thCentFox/courtesy Everett Collection
Roy Scheider and Tony Lo Bianco in “The French Connection.” 20thCentFox/courtesy Everett Collection

Other films Lo Bianco has starred in include “The Honeymoon Killers,” “The Seven-Ups,” “The Juror,” “Nixon” and “Kill the Irishman.”

Tony Lo Bianco in “The Juror”. Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

Lo Bianco reflected on his role in “The Honeymoon Killers” last year, saying, “They wanted to cast a guy with a Spanish accent. I'm Italian-American, but I took a Spanish accent and I got the role. Everyone thought it was authentic, and then they heard my real voice one day on set. They couldn't believe it.

His last film was Ray Romano's 2022 comedy-drama, “Somewhere in Queens.”

Tony Lo Bianco at the premiere of “Somewhere in Queens” in June 2022. Getty Images for the Tribeca Festival

Lo Bianco also appeared on the TV shows “The Twilight Zone,” “Murder, She Wrote,” and “Law & Order.”

His last television role was in an episode of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” in 2007.

He was also active in theater and won a New York Emmy Award for his performance in the stage production of “Hizzoner!” in 1984. He went on to star in several off-Broadway shows, including “The Little Flower,” in which he played former New York City Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia.

Tony Lo Bianco and Alyse Lo Bianco in 2016. WireImage

Lo Bianco was married three times.

His first marriage was to Dora Landey from 1964 to 1984. They had three daughters together. Then, Lo Bianco was married to Elizabeth Fitzpatrick from 2002 to 2008. He married his third wife, Alyse Best Muldoon, in 2015.

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