The Sopranos star TONY SIRICO has thanked the former New York cop who arrested him 37 years ago, claiming he saved the actor from a life of crime.
Sirico - who played mobster Paulie 'Walnuts' Gualtieri in the hit show - was a real life gangster and part of the city's notorious Colombo crime family when he was caught illegally carrying a loaded gun at a racetrack in 1971, by detective Joe Coffey.
Sirico - whose nose was broken by Coffey during the arrest - went on to serve 20 months in prison.
During his time inside, Sirico decided to quit crime and turn his life around. More than 35 years later, the now 65 year old Sirico took the opportunity to thank Coffey when they bumped into each other in New York recently.
The retired cop tells the New York Post, "Tony has a great memory. I feel like a school teacher, where one of my students made good."