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The Devastating Death Of Frank Pesce

Legendary Hollywood character actor Frank Pesce, who appeared in 90 projects since the 1970s (via IMDb), has died at the age of 75. The actor, who was known for small roles in films like "Rocky," "Top Gun," and "Beverly Hills Cop," died due to dementia-related causes on February 6 in Burbank, California, according to Deadline. Pesce was a friend to many individuals in Hollywood. Big names such as Sylvester Stallone, Tony Danza, the late Robert Forster, and David Permut could be counted among Pesce's closest friends, per Deadline.

Born on December 8, 1946, and raised in New York City, Pesce started off playing bit roles in TV series like "Police Story" and "Kojack," where he played the characters Jerry Gerson and Spencer, respectively (via IMDb). In 1976, he landed an uncredited role as a spectator in "Rocky," and later played Skinny the Hand in "Spectator Alley," both films likely serving as the origin for his aforementioned friendship with Stallone.

From there, Pesce continued to work in film and TV. From "Knight Rider" and "Matlock," to "Cagney & Lacey" and "The Expendables 3," Pesce worked well into the 2010s, with his most recent credit being the upcoming film "Street Justice." However, there is more to Pesce than just his innumerable roles.

Frank Pesce had his own movie based on his life

Frank Pesce may not have been an A-lister, but his life story is one for the ages. He frequently repeated his own aphorism, "they make movies about guys like me," a quote which will reportedly be his epitaph on his tombstone, per Deadline. For one film, that was literally the case. In 1991, 20th Century Fox made the film "29th Street" based on an anecdote from Pesce's early life about him scoring a winning lottery ticket. The film was directed by George Gallo and starred Anthony LaPaglia as Pesce, with the real-world Pesce portraying his brother, Vito.

Oddly, Paramount could have been the ones to make "29th Street," were it not for the interference of Oscar-nominated producer David Permut. By pure coincidence, while Permut had been pitching Pesce's story to Fox and United Artists, Pesce had been doing the same to Paramount. Both had sold the exclusive rights to Pesce's name to two different companies. Thankfully, Permut managed to get Paramount to take back their deal with Pesce.

Now, "29th Street" serves as a somewhat living memorial to one of Hollywood's most enigmatic background figures. He is survived by his brother, Vito; his nieces, Vanessa and Danielle Pesce; his sister-in-law, Catherine Pesce; and his girlfriend, Tammy Scher. According to Deadline, he is set to be buried at Saint Raymond's Cemetery in the Bronx, New York on February 18.