Almost always played menacing Italian New Yorkers (though he was himself of Spanish heritage). However, one of his most memorable roles was as a good guy: the weary but righteous Detective Bishop in King of New York (1990).
Appeared in two films where Jodie Foster portrayed a prostitute: Taxi Driver and Woody Allen's Shadows and Fog.
He died from lung cancer at Saint Vincent's Catholic Medical Center in Manhattan. His body was donated to Manhattan College for medical science.
He appeared in six films directed by Martin Scorsese: Boxcar Bertha (1972), Mean Streets (1973), Taxi Driver (1976), After Hours (1985), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) and New York Stories (1989).
He was frequently cast as Italian and Irish Americans even though his real-life heritage was entirely Puerto Rican.