John “Cha Cha” Ciarcia, an actor who played wise-guy characters in film and TV projects including Goodfellas and The Sopranos, died Nov. 21 in New York City after a brief illness, his family announced. He was 75.
Known to friends and acquaintances as “The Mayor of Little Italy,” Ciarcia also owned Cha Cha’s In Bocca Al Lupo Cafe, a restaurant frequented by celebrity friends including Robert De Niro and Danny DeVito, and decades ago he worked as Tony Danza’s boxing manager.
In addition to portraying mob consigliere Albie Cianfione on The Sopranos, Ciarcia had roles in Hoffa, Who Do I Gotta Kill?, A Brooklyn State of Mind, and Death to Smoochy. He regularly appeared on the satellite radio program The Wiseguy Show, hosted by fellow Sopranos actor Vincent Pastore.
“He was one of the great New York characters, and the best storyteller I ever knew,” veteran Hollywood publicist Stan Rosenfield told Page Six of Ciarcia. “He was why Damon Runyon wrote about New York.”