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Suzanne Shepherd, ‘Sopranos’ and ‘Goodfellas’ actress, dies at 89


Suzanne Shepherd, the celebrated actress who starred in “The Sopranos” and “Goodfellas,” passed away Friday morning. She was 89 years old.

Shepherd, born Oct. 31, 1934, was also a theater director and acting coach who gained fame from her portrayal of Aunt Tweedy in the 1988 film “Mystic Pizza.”

She went on to play Karen Hill’s mother in “Goodfellas,” as well as Carmela’s mother, Mary DeAngelis, in HBO’s “The Sopranos.” She also starred as Miss Pratt in the 1997 film “Lolita.”

She made guest appearances in “Law & Order,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” and most recently the CBS cop drama “Blue Bloods.”

Suzanne Shepherd in New York.
Suzanne Shepherd in New York in 2004.Henry McGee / MediaPunch/IPx file

Shepherd was the first woman to teach at Sanford Meisner’s acting program, which differentiated itself from method acting during the mid-20th century.

“I studied with Suzanne as a young actor,” actor Tom Titone wrote on Facebook Saturday.

“She was a huge presence. A BIG personality. She roared with life and at it. May she rest now.”

Titone said a shiva will be held for her this Monday and Tuesday.

Ray Abruzzo, her co-star on “The Sopranos,” eulogized Shepherd on his Instagram on Saturday.

“Sad to hear of the passing of Suzanne Shepherd,” he said.

“A force of nature. Actress, teacher.”

According to a statement from her talent agency, Shepherd is survived by her daughter, artist Kate Shepherd, as well as her son-in-law Miles McManus and granddaughter Isabelle Shepherd.

They said a memorial service will be announced early next year.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.