Tony Lo Bianco, Italian American actor known for ‘The French Connection,’ has died at 87

Italian American actor Tony Lo⁤ Bianco, known for his role⁣ as Salvatore ​“Sal” Boca in the classic 1971 film “The ⁢French Connection,” passed away at ⁤the age ⁢of 87 after a prolonged struggle with prostate cancer. Lo Bianco died on his‌ horse farm in⁣ Maryland with his​ wife, Alyse, by his‍ side. Born in Brooklyn⁣ in 1936 to Sicilian immigrants, he was initially a Golden Gloves boxer before turning ​to acting. He attended the Dramatic Workshop in‌ New York City and‌ debuted on ⁤Broadway before making his ⁢film entrance ​in 1965. Lo Bianco’s acting career spanned several decades, during which he ‌participated in numerous⁢ films and theatrical‍ productions. “The French Connection” ​remains one of his⁣ most notable works, famous for its iconic car chase ⁣scene; the film received five ⁢Academy Awards.

Italian American actor Tony Lo Bianco died on Tuesday after a long battle with prostate cancer. He was 87.

Lo Bianco was best known for his role as mobster Salvatore “Sal” Boca in the 1971 film The French Connection. The movie is recognized for featuring one of the most extraordinary car chase scenes in cinematic history. It won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Screenplay, and Best Director. The film starred Gene Hackman and is considered one of the greatest movies ever.

Lo Bianco died at his horse farm in Maryland, representatives for the actor confirmed to various publications.

“His wife, Alyse, was by his side,” said a representative.

Lo Bianco was born in 1936 in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Sicilian immigrants. He was a Golden Gloves boxer before becoming an actor. He studied acting and theater production at the Dramatic Workshop in New York. After appearing in several Broadway productions, he made his film debut in 1965 in “The Sex Perils of Paulette.”

Throughout his career, he appeared in numerous films, including “The Honeymoon Killers,” “Bloodbrothers,” “City Heat,” “Serpico,” “Nixon,” and his last film, the 2022 comedy “Somewhere in Queens.” He also had a long career as a television actor, appearing in “Jesus of Nazareth,” “Police Story,” “Marco Polo,” “The Twilight Zone,” and “Law and Order,” among others.

Lo Bianco was involved in many charitable organizations throughout his career, including the USO, The Wounded Warrior Project, and the National Italian American Foundation, Fox News reported.

The National Italian Foundation released a statement on his passing.

“It is with great sadness that the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) mourns the loss of my dear friend, Tony Lo Bianco,” said NIAF Chairman Bob Carlucci. “A proud Italian American, Tony was not only an accomplished actor but a fervent advocate for celebrating and promoting our rich culture and heritage.”


“For decades, Tony dedicated himself to the NIAF mission, sharing his passion for all things Italian on stage and screen while also serving as a goodwill ambassador for our community,” Carlucci said. “He frequently lent his talents to our events and initiatives, captivating audiences with his cinematic portrayals of iconic Italian Americans. NIAF recently honored Tony’s lifetime achievements in entertainment at our 2023 New York Gala.”

“His spirit, generosity, and advocacy for our community will be dearly missed,” Carlucci said. “We have lost not only a talented actor, but a proud Italian American who celebrated our culture with every role.”

Lo Bianco is survived by his wife, Alyse, and his three children.

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