Sopranos star Suzanne Shepherd passes away aged 89
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Featured Image Credit: Michael Loccisano/FilmMagic/Getty Images/HBO
Actor Suzanne Shepherd has passed away at the age of 89, her family have confirmed.
Shepherd was best known for her roles in Goodfellas and The Sopranos, playing the mother of key characters in both dramas.
She passed away on Friday, with actor and real estate agent Tommy Titone saying that she 'passed away peacefully very early yesterday morning'.
Born 31 October 1934, Shepherd had roles in movies Mystic Pizza, Uncle Buck, Requiem for a Dream, and A Dirty Shame.
She also had guest appearances in TV series, including Ed, Law & Order, and Blue Bloods.
Paying tribute to Shepherd, Titone wrote: “I studied with Suzanne as a young actor. She saw in me what I could not yet see in myself. She introduced me to my husband.
“She was the officiant to our marriage under a beautiful gazebo in Central Park with a gathering of family and friends. For this, I will always be grateful.
“She was a huge presence. A BIG personality. She roared with life and at it.”
Ray Abruzzo, who played Little Carmine Lupertazzi, paid tribute to her in a post to Instagram.
He wrote: “Sad to hear of the passing of Suzanne Shepherd. A force of nature. Actress, teacher.
"Played Carmella’s mother on Sopranos and Karen’s mother in Goodfellas."
In addition to her roles on screen, Shepherd was also a long-time regional theatre director and acting coach, directing at a number of prestigious theatres in the US and internationally.
She also dedicated some 43 years to the teaching and coaching of actors, holding positions at a number of prestigious conservatories.
Her career teaching and coaching actors is also set to be the subject of an upcoming documentary, which has been to confirmed to be called A Gift of Fire.
Fans flocked online to offer their tributes to the actor and teacher.
One wrote: "An unforgettable one-of-a-kind character made for the movies, she'll always be Big Ethel in A DIRTY SHAME and Mary the nice old lady that Holly Hunter becomes friends with in LIVING OUT LOUD to me -- RIP queen."
Another wrote: "Excellent actress who made Goodfellas and The Sopranos so special. Thank you, Suzanne Shepherd. RIP."
A third said: "She was always great in everything she did."
Suzanne Shepherd is survived by her daughter Kate Shepherd, her son-in-law Miles, her daughter-in-law Joyce, and granddaughter Isabelle.