I am so sorry to hear that Paulie Herman has died. He was 76, and a beloved character on both coasts.
Paulie may be known to you as Robert De Niro’s pal in “Silver Linings Playbook.” He also had a recurring role as “Beanie” in “The Sopranos.” He was in “Casino” and “Goodfellas,” also, on the TV show, “Entourage,” and the Jeff Bridges movie, “Crazy Heart.”
I met Paulie over 30 years ago when he and his brother Charlie ran the famed Columbus Cafe on Columbus Avenue in Manhattan. It was supposed to be the Upper West Side version of Elaine’s, and for a time, it was. On Wikipedia it says the place was “frequented by actors, ballet dancers, gangsters, and FBI and DEA agents.” This was completely true. I met a lot of eclectic people there during its short run. Regis Philbin and DeNiro were among the partners.
Paulie knew everyone in Hollywood and the New York movie scene. I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say he was one of Robert DeNiro’s closest pals. They were very tight. When De Niro and his restaurant pals opened Ago on Melrose in West Hollywood in 1998, Paulie was sent to run it. And he kept it going until the end of 2019, when the restaurant lost its lease.
Paulie was loyal as they come. He was a great friend and acquaintance. At Ago he always greeted me with a hug, made sure I always had a great table, we’d reminisce about Paul Sorvino singing at Columbus or the night in 1986 — yes, 1986 — when novelist William Kennedy’s wife Dana showed Francis Ford Coppola her “cell phone” — it was like a brick — and let him use it to call his young daughter, Sofia.
Paulie, you will always be missed. RIP.
PS Tony Danza already posted a tribute. There will be more, believe me.
Robert De Niro:
“I am very sad about the passing of Paul Herman. He was a wonderful actor as well as a dear friend.
He will be missed by all who knew and loved him, and by the profession he so proudly served through
the quality of his work.
Rest in Peace, Paul.”
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