Tony Lo Bianco, ‘The French Connection’ Actor, Dies at 87


Italian-American actor Tony Lo Bianco passed away on Tuesday after a long battle with prostate cancer. He was 87. Most recognized for his role as mobster Salvatore “Sal” Boca in the 1971 film The French Connection, the movie received critical acclaim and won five Academy Awards. Lo Bianco spent his final moments at his Maryland horse farm, surrounded by family members.

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

Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1936, Lo Bianco was the son of Sicilian immigrants. Before pursuing acting, he was a Golden Gloves boxer. He studied acting and theater production at the Dramatic Workshop in New York. With a career spanning several Broadway productions and numerous films such as “The Honeymoon Killers,” “Bloodbrothers,” “City Heat,” “Serpico,” “Nixon,” and his last film “Somewhere in Queens.”

Lo Bianco also had a long-standing career in television. He appeared in shows like “Jesus of Nazareth,” “Police Story,” “Marco Polo,” “The Twilight Zone,” and “Law and Order.” Over the years, he actively supported several charitable organizations, including the USO, The Wounded Warrior Project, and the National Italian American Foundation.

Bob Carlucci, chairman of the National Italian American Foundation, mourned Lo Bianco’s passing. He described Lo Bianco as not only an accomplished actor but a fervent advocate for celebrating and promoting the rich culture and heritage of Italian Americans. Over the decades, Lo Bianco dedicated himself to the NIAF mission, sharing his passion for Italian things through his acting and as a goodwill ambassador for the community. His work will be missed, and he will always be remembered as a proud Italian-American who celebrated their culture through every role.

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

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