Paul Herman, who appeared as wiseguys and schlemiels in such films as Martin Scorsese’s “Goodfellas” and “Casino” and three seasons of “The Sopranos,” died on Tuesday, his 76th birthday.
His manager, T Keaton-Woods, confirmed the death in a statement but did not specify the cause or where Mr Herman died.
Over a career spanning four decades, Mr. Herman was perhaps best known for his role in “The Sopranos” as Peter Gaeta, better known as Beansie, the pizza parlor owner who gets into trouble with a mobster. head with a pot of hot coffee – but who manages to recover.
Mr. Herman also appeared for five seasons on another beloved HBO series, “Entourage,” as an accountant pleading unsuccessfully with his famous client to be less of a thug.
He often played unnamed characters in Mr. Scorsese in which he appeared, but in the director’s most recent feature, “The Irishman,” he had a more notable role: as Whispers DiTullio, who, like Beansie, is a businessman involved in the mafia who angers the wrong people and comes to grief.
Herman’s dozens of other film credits include crime-themed films like “The Cotton Club” (1984), “Once Upon a Time in America” (1984), “Heat” (1995), and “American Hustle” (2013) , a screwball comedy about political corruption for which he shared a Screen Actors Guild Award.
“The only one who’s ever given me the chance to play a saint is Marty,” Mr. Herman told DailyExpertNews in 1989, referring to his role as Philip the Apostle in Mr. Scorsese’s film. 1988, “The Last Temptation of Christ.”
Paul Herman was born on March 29, 1946 in Brooklyn. His film career took off with ‘Dear Mr. Wonderful,” a 1982 film about the life of the workers in Newark and New York City, in which Joe Pesci played his first lead role.
From there, Mr. Herman made it a specialty of using his haggard but familiar mug to play minor characters such as a burglar (in Woody Allen’s “Radio Days”), a head waiter (in another Allen movie, “Bullets Over Broadway”) and a bartender (in Sondra Locke’s “Trading Favors”), along with a motley crew of mobsters.
Information on survivors was not immediately available. Mr. Herman had homes in New York and Santa Monica.
Offscreen, he was known for being friendly and well-connected. “If you visited NYC from LA, he was the entertainment director,” actor Tony Danza said on Twitter after his death†
Music director Tommy Mottola posted an undated black and white photo to Instagram of Mr. Herman sitting in a restaurant between young versions of Robert De Niro and actress and director Penny Marshall, who died in 2018. Herman had on a “first name basis with every superstar actor and musician in the world.”
Mr. Herman co-owned the now-closed but once bustling Columbus restaurant on the Upper West Side, where one evening in 1989, sitting next to Al Pacino, he told The Times he was the nightly “social director.” The principals included Mr Scorsese, Mr Allen and Francis Ford Coppola—all friends who had cast him in their films over the years.
Those three men had very different directing styles, Mr Herman told The Times in 1989.
With Mr Scorsese and Mr Coppola, “you can give them your ideas on a scene,” he said. “But with Woody, well, you just don’t do that with him because he has ideas that he’s working out. However, you cannot say that one style is better than the other.”