Veteran character actor Brian Tarantina died today at 60. According to TMZ, the cause of death is believed to be a drug overdose. Tarantina was discovered by his niece in his Hell’s Kitchen residence shortly after midnight Saturday (November 2nd). The actor was found unresponsive near a white powdery substance.
Update, December 17th: Aja Worthy-Davis, executive director of public affairs for the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, has confirmed that Tarantina’s cause of death was an accidental overdose due to a combination of fentanyl, heroin, diazepam and cocaine (via NBC News).
Tarantina had a prolific film and television career that dates back to the 1980s. In recent years, he may be best known for his recurring role as Jackie on the Emmy-winning The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. In addition to frequent spots on Gilmore Girls and a memorable death on The Sopranos, Tarantina was beloved by network TV casting agents. He popped up on Miami Vice, NYPD Blue, Spin City, Elementary, The Blacklist, The Good Wife, Blue Bloods, Heroes, and appeared in seven different roles across the Law & Order universe.
On the film side, Tarantina appeared alongside Al Pacino and Johnny Depp in Donnie Brasco, John Candy in Uncle Buck, and held supporting roles in Jacob’s Ladder, City by the Sea, Summer of Sam, Carlito’s Way, BlacKkKlansmen, The Kitchen, and many more. Despite never being offered a starry leading role, Tarantina was a remarkably productive actor in his long and varied career.
Earlier this year, along with his castmates in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Brian Tarantina received a SAG Award for Outstanding Ensemble in a Comedy Series.
The Gaslight won’t be the same without you. Thank you Brian Tarantina for sharing in all of the laughs. Sending love to his family and friends in this difficult time. pic.twitter.com/J1R1ijF3tE
— The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (@MaiselTV) November 2, 2019