Suzanne Shepherd, Actress in ‘The Sopranos’ and ‘Goodfellas,’ Dead at 89


Suzanne Shepherd, the actress best known for her roles in Goodfellas and as Carmella Soprano’s mother in The Sopranos, has died. She was 89.

Shepherd died “peacefully in her home” in New York City on early Friday morning, a rep confirmed to PEOPLE. In a statement, the actress was also described as a “director, legendary acting teacher and private coach.” The Sun first confirmed the news of her death.

She is survived by daughter Kate Shepherd, son-in-law Miles McManus and granddaughter Isabelle Shepherd. A memorial service for the actress will be announced in “early 2024,” according to her rep.

Suzanne Shepherd (far right) appears in a 2001 episode of ‘The Sopranos’ with Sharon Angela and Tom Aldredge.

HBO/Courtesy Everett Collection

Suzanne’s daughter Kate reportedly told TMZ that her mother was suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and that a cause of death had not yet been determined.

Shepherd appeared in several films and series since the 1980s. According to IMDB, her first major role was as Aunt Tweedy in 1988’s Mystic Pizza. She went on to star in Martin Scorsese’s 1990 classic Goodfellas as Karen’s mother, as well as in 1997’s Lolita and 2000’s Requiem for a Dream. Her last documented role was Tess in 2023’s The Performance.

In television, Shepherd appeared in shows including Law & Order and Blue Bloods, among others.

The actress was beloved by Sopranos fans for her work as Carmella’s mother, Mary DeAngelis. She portrayed the character in 20 episodes from 2000 to 2007 during the show’s run, per IMDB.

“Sad to hear of the passing of Suzanne Shepherd,” Ray Abruzzo, who played Little Carmine Lupertazzi in the show, wrote on Instagram alongside an image of his late costar. “A force of nature. Actress, teacher. Played Carmella’s mother on Sopranos and Karen’s mother in Goodfellas.”

According to Variety, Shepherd was an acting coach for more than four decades in New York, directed at theaters across the country, and has an upcoming documentary, A Gift of Fire, focusing on her teaching work.

Suzanne Shepherd attends ‘The Week Of’ New York premiere in 2018.

Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic

Shepherd’s granddaughter Isabelle paid tribute to her on Instagram on Saturday, remembering her as the family matriarch.

In the post, Isabelle shared that her grandmother “shaped me and my life,” and “instilled in me a love of literature and language, and a delight in the beauty this world holds.”

“I’ve been reflecting on the role of such a figure, and I find that it is most evident and tangible in the spaces they create for us to share,” she wrote alongside throwback images of her and her grandmother. “And oh, the magical places Suzanne created!”

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