'Sopranos' actor has real life mob history

March 20, 2006 at 9:03 PM

NEW YORK, March 20 (UPI) -- "The Sopranos" Tony Sirico once led a life that was not so far removed from that of his mobster character, Paulie Walnuts.

In fact, a New York judge labeled Sirico "a danger to society," The Smoking Gun reports on its Web site.

TSG uncovered court documents that could have come directly from the HBO drama, describing Sirico as "shakedown artist" who preyed on New York night club owners.

After threatening to carve his initials into the forehead of a disco owner and other similar incidents, Sirico was diagnosed with a "character disorder" by doctors at Bellevue Hospital, TSG said.

Sirico spent 20 months in Sing Sing for a 1971 conviction for felony weapons possession and has stayed out of trouble ever since -- at least in real life.

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