Val Bisoglio, ‘Sopranos’ and ‘Saturday Night Fever’ Actor, Dies at 95

The character actor worked in the industry for several decades, across numerous beloved projects

Val Bisoglio
Paramount Pictures

Val Bisoglio, a character actor who worked in the industry for a half-century and starred in beloved projects like “Saturday Night Fever” and “The Sopranos,” has died. He was 95.

Bisoglio’s wife Bonnie confirmed the news to Variety, saying that he died in his home in California on Oct. 18. A cause of death was not revealed. The pair had three sons.

In film, Bisoglio is best known for his role in “Saturday Night Fever,” where he played John Travolta’s volatile father, Frank Sr.

Bisoglio also starred in several well-known television shows over the years, his best-known roles being as Sgt. Sal Pernelli, the cook on “M.A.S.H.,” and Danny Tovo in “Quincy, M.E.” The latter ran on NBC from 1976 to 1983, and followed a medical examiner who regularly helped in murder investigations.

Among his other TV appearances are Starsky and Hutch,” “Miami Vice” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” His final role was in another legendary show: “The Sopranos.” Bisoglio appeared as Murf in a handful of episodes in 2002. Sadly, Murf was often the butt of the joke, as Junior Soprano would typically mock him for his slow reactions and driving like an old woman.

The New York native was born on May 7, 1926. His parents had immigrated from towns near Monferrato, Alessandria, Italy. Prior to acting on screen, Bisoglio was a stage performer, appearing in “Kiss Mama,” “Wait Until Dark” and “A View from the Bridge.” Bisoglio also worked for a time as part of Shakespeare in the Park with Arthur Penn.

Bisoglio is survived by his wife of 25 years, Bonnie, and his sons Joseph Valentino Bisoglio, Sgt. Scott Chapman and Casey DeFranco.