Albanese was best known for his role as Tony Soprano's (James Gandolfini) retired mobster uncle Pat Blundetto in the acclaimed TV drama.

He also appeared in big screen mafia films Goodfellas, two of the three Godfather movies, and 1995's crime drama Dead Presidents.

In his early years, Albanese was a heavyweight boxer, but was forced to retire from the sport at age 19 after suffering a brain injury. It was his friendship with middleweight champion Rocky Graziano that helped him score his first uncredited acting role in 1968 drama The Brotherhood, which starred Kirk Douglas.