Burt Young became famous for his role as Paulie in the Rocky films. However, the veteran actor made several high-profile TV appearances, too. Young has credits on the small screen dating back to the 70s. He also appeared in recent hits like Netflix’s Russian Doll. With the news of his recent passing at 83, fans are recalling his appearances on their favorite TV shows over the years.
‘The Sopranos’, Burt Young Plays an Aging Mafia Boss
In the season three episode of HBO’s Mafia drama The Sopranos, “Another Toothpick”, Young portrays Bobby ‘Bacala’ Sr. His character comes from Miami to visit Tony (James Gandolfini). However, he comes out of retirement to deal with one last job. It turns out that Young’s character has terminal lung cancer, leading to the hit he performs ending disastrously. It’s a somber, darkly comedic performance from Young.
Young Stops by ‘M*A*S*H’ Before His ‘Rocky’ Success
One of Burt Young’s earliest screen performances was on M*A*S*H before his iconic turn in Rocky. In the second season episode “L.I.P.,” he guest stars as a visiting lieutenant. He has a memorable moment with Alan Alda’s Hawkeye as they share a drink together in “The Swamp”. “What’s in this stuff?” he asks Hawkeye about the questionable hooch. “Oh, a little bit of this, a little bit of that, a lot of dreams,” Hawkeye wistfully quips.
‘Tales from the Crypt’
Burt Young appeared alongside Joe Pecsi in “Split Personality”, a season four episode from the horror anthology series Tales from the Crypt. The veteran actor plays a small, but pivotal role in this tale of dual lives that ends in a “splitting” twist. Young sets the events of the episode in motion after his character is swindled out of his money by Pecsi. This episode is also notable as the only directorial effort from prolific Hollywood producer, Joel Silver.
‘Walker, Texas Ranger’
Burt Young reteamed with his Chinatown costar Noble Willingham to appear in two episodes of the Chuck Norris action series, Walker, Texas Ranger. He guest-starred in the season five episode “Lucky”, as a homeless veteran. His character returned for season six’s Christmas episode “Small Blessings” where he aids two orphans who witness a murder and go on the run. Young plays the character with his signature gruffness, but his kind heart shines through.
Burt Young Appeared in Two ‘Law & Order’ Shows
The Law & Order franchise has been rolling along now for four decades, so it’s no surprise that Burt Young popped in for an episode. However, Young managed to appear on both the flagship series and the popular, still-running spin-off, SVU. He appeared in the season seven episode of Law & Order, titled “Mad Dog”. He plays a convicted serial rapist that gets out on parole, much to the disdain of Sam Waterston’s character, A.D.A Jack McCoy. Waterston’s character follows the goings of Young’s character so closely, that the convict summons the help of the ACLU.
However, Burt Young plays a more likable character in Law & Order: SVU‘s season ten episode, “Snatched”. He plays Eddie Mack, a streetwise fixer who helps Christopher Meloni’s Detective Stabler locate a professor and safe cracking expert to advise of a case. Young returns later in the episode to complicate the proceedings, leading to a twist in the case.
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