Paul D’Amato Cause of Death and Obituary

A New England-bred performer named Paul D’Amato, who used to donate his self-professed “tiny amount of fame” in aiding charitable organizations, died on Monday. He died at the age of 75 after fighting a battle for four years with progressive supranuclear palsy, which is a rare brain disease.

Who was Paul D’Amato?

Paul D’Amato was an actor born in Worcester and raised in Spencer. He began his career by working as a stagehand at 14, and then he decided to become an actor. He had finished his education at Emerson College in Boston, where he appeared in theatre productions and played on the ice hockey team.

This combination of acting and being a hockey player benefited him very well when he was cast as goon Tim “Dr. Hook” McCracken in a hockey movie starring the legendary Paul Newman in 1976. This movie was considered one of the top sports movies of all time; Slap Shot was released in Feb. 1977 and almost instantly attained cult classic status.

As the “coach and chief punk” of the Syracuse Bulldogs of the fictional Federal Hockey League, McCracken guides his team to the league championship game against the Charlestown Chiefs of player/coach Reggie Dunlop, played by Newman. A $100 bounty placed on McCracken’s head by Dunlop during a pregame radio interview led to D’Amato uttering several memorable lines during the title game:

  • “A hundred bucks says you’re gonna crack my skull.”
  • “Major surgery … open heart.”

He was cast in another hockey role in 1977, in the TV movie The Deadliest Season, starring Michael Moriarty and Meryl Streep. One year later, D’Amato was cast in The Deer Hunter, portraying a Green Beret in which he gave an unforgettable performance. This film ended up winning five Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

After small parts in various films and television shows, including The Six Million Dollar Man, Heaven’s Gate, and Heaven Can Wait, D’Amato was cast once more as a creepy villain in the 1987 film Suspect.

In his flourishing career, he used to help many charity organizations. He had raised thousands of dollars for charities due to his generosity over the years. He has organized many events to raise money to help children.

He had a warm, loving heart for a large number of charities and also used to love his fans and friends. During his time, he attended many hockey charity functions, and he was always willing to sign autographs for his fans.

Just after his passing, fellow actor and longtime girlfriend, Marina Re wrote on social media, “He may have played tough bad guys, but a sweeter, kinder, more compassionate man does not exist. Whether skiing down the slopes, riding his motorcycle, skating on the ice, rollerblading through the village, or kayaking on the lake, he lived life to the fullest. His talents were endless, his generosity overflowing, and his dedication to his family and friends unwavering and unmatched. His brilliance as an actor is there for anyone to see, but sharing the stage with him was an actor’s dream.”

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