Films / news

Thoughts on the death of Frank Vincent, a mobster with a loving heart

It’s 8:47 a.m. on what seems to be a normal Thursday. It’s pay-day, and I’m in the clean-up process post-Irma like many South Floridians. At work, I’m tasked with populating stories for our station’s website, which isn’t a tough task and helps get the juices flowing during the early morning grind.

Generally, entertainment stories hardly pique my interest, because they’re usually surrounding glamour and TV drama (think: The Bachelor).

This wasn’t a normal plunge into the entertainment section, however. The headline hit me like a ton of bricks: ‘Sopranos’ mobster, veteran actor Frank Vincent dies at 78.

I gasped, I reminisced — reminisced on the time I met Vincent and his wife almost two years ago.

I was a part-timer at Best Buy, working diligently in the home theater department. Of course, every employee wants the big sale, the big installation — it’s worth all the praise and makes the job worth it. Although, there are little fish to catch sometimes when the big ones are scarce throughout an eight-hour shift. One of my supervisors at the time gave me that advice and, truth be told, he was right: I had sold two, three TVs smaller than 32 inches during that afternoon shift.

I didn’t mind it, but I was itching for a big sale. Enter an older couple. The gentleman was wearing sunglasses, while his wife was wearing a wide smile. “Hi! We’re looking for nothing too big, just 28 inches or so. We’re not here all year ’round.”

If I had a dollar for every time …

But hey, they were sweet and genuinely engaging in conversation. It wasn’t your traditional sale of “get in and get out.” I found them a TV and took them to a register.

We spoke and spoke and got on the topic of films (possibly because we were in the fancy room, the Magnolia room with 55-plus inch 4K TVs of high-grade).

“What’s your favorite film?” asked the gentleman’s wife.

“That’s tough, but it’s gotta be Goodfellas,” I replied.

And hey, I can’t make this up, she follows-up with and jokingly asks, “Do you recognize this guy?”

The gentleman pushes up his shades and it’s Frank Vincent. I immediately recognize him and am calm, but admittedly floored.

We held good conversation for the next 20 minutes or so. They explained they have a home here but that it’s for vacations.

Vincent didn’t only leave me with a “hi” and “bye,” but he asked me what I want to do when I finish school.

I said I want to work in sports, and maybe I want to be on TV.

“What’s you name?” he asks.

I told him my name. I was excited so I rushed to spill words out of my mouth, to which he provided me with good advice on speaking clearly and what may help get me in front of a camera.

This wasn’t a normal TV sale — it was more dynamic than 99 percent of the sales I made in my time at Best Buy.

Thanks for leaving me with a lasting impression, Frank, and giving audiences across the world an on-screen mobster to root for, with a loving heart.


Photo: The Wrap


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