Legions of film and television fans the world over were saddened this week to learn of the passing at age 75 of Frank Pesce, a well-loved character actor whose varied credits spanned the decades, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The actor’s death on Feb. 6 was confirmed by his girlfriend, Tammy Scher, who revealed that he passed in Burbank, California, at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center due to complications of dementia.
Scher lovingly reminisced to Variety about the tremendous impact Pesce had in her life, explaining, “I met Frank at a very low point in my life. He always said he saved me and he was right.”
“I’d never met anyone like him. Frank was a force larger than life or any fictional character, always entertaining, intriguing and fascinating,” Scher said.
Pesce’s career endured for over four decades, beginning with his formal television debut in an episode of Police Story on NBC back in 1976, and his work as a Robert DeNiro stand-in during the filming of Taxi Driver.
As the Reporter noted, Pesce’s voluminous resume also included appearances in both Beverly Hills Cop films, Top Gun, Rocky, Midnight Run, Donny Brasco, as well as in television programs including Miami Vice, Kojak, Matlock, Who’s the Boss?, and more.
Scher noted that Pesce had an extremely personable nature and was “unafraid to approach anyone and immediately make an acquaintance, adding that “[c]elebrities flocked to be near him as he hand an encyclopedia of knowledge about music and movies, something that may have contributed to his close friendships with luminaries such as Sylvester Stallone, Tony Danza, and Robert Forster.
Pesce also received a story credit on the 1991 film 29th Street, which told the tale of a man named Frank Pesce Jr, portrayed by Anthony LaPaglia and his father, played by Danny Aiello, according to the Reporter, a production in which the actor himself assumed the role of his own elder brother, Vito.
Survivors of the beloved thespian include Scher, his brother Vito, nieces Danielle and Vanessa, and sister-in-law Catherine, according to Deadline, as well as the millions of fans who enjoyed his impressive body of work and will surely continue to do so for years to come.