Pastore was born in The Bronx, New York, of Italian-American descent. He attended Pace University for 3 years before eventually going into the acting industry after befriending Matt and Kevin Dillon; he was previously a club-owner in New Rochelle, New York.
Pastore has made a career of playing the parts of Italian-American mobsters. He began with cameo appearances in 1990's GoodFellas and 1993's Carlito's Way. In GoodFellas, he is briefly seen rolling a coat rack through the kitchen of a restaurant and is credited as "Vincent Pastore" playing "Man with Coat Rack". In Carlito's Way, he is one of the friends of the Italian man that dances with Gail, whom Kleinfeld insults. He is listed in the credits as "Vinny Pastore" playing "Copa Wiseguy." Pastore got a bigger role in the comedy/crime film The Jerky Boys (1995) as Tony Scarboni, one of the three gangsters and Lazarro (Alan Arkin)'s clients. In the 1996 HBO television movie Gotti, Pastore played the character of Angelo Ruggiero, alongside fellow Sopranos cast members Tony Sirico and Dominic Chianese. In 1999, Pastore got his biggest role to date in The Sopranos, where he played the character Salvatore "Big Pussy" Bonpensiero. His character died in the finale of season 2, but Pastore would make a few more appearances over the next few years in dream and flashback sequences. Following The Sopranos, he appeared in “Mickey Blue Eyes”, “Two Family House” (with Sopranos cast mates Michael Rispoli, Kathrine Narducci, Matt Servitto, Michele Santopietro, Louis Guss, Rosemary De Angelis, and Sharon Angela), “Under Hellgate Bridge”, “Riding in Cars with Boys”. “Deuces Wild”, “Made”, “Mafia”, “The Hurricane”, “Serving Sara”, “Carlito’s Way” with Sean Penn, “American Cousins”, “A Tale of Two Pizzas”, “This Thing of Ours”, Shark Tale” , “Johnny Slade’s Greatest Hits”, Guy Ritchie’s “Revolver”. He served as Associate Producer of the film, “Doughboys”. Television credits include; “Grounded for Life” (2002), character Vinnie Fellachio in “Son of a Beach” (2002), “Law & Order” (various roles from 1992 – 1996), soap opera, “One Life to Live”, hosted “Repo-Men/Stealing for a Living”, “Ed”, “Queens Supreme”, “Vegas”, and “Everybody Hates Chris”. In 2007, he starred in the independent feature film "P.J." co-starring with Sopranos co-star John Heard and Robert Picardo. He had a role in 2008's College Road Trip, with Martin Lawrence and Raven-Symoné, as well as in the upcoming Ghost in the Machine.
Pastore lost 29 lbs on the fourth season of the VH1 reality show Celebrity Fit Club which ran from August 6 to October 1, 2006. On February 20, 2007, the ABC television network announced that Pastore would participate in the fourth season of the American version of the competitive dance series Dancing with the Stars. Pastore withdrew from the competition after only one week, however, after finding the necessary training and preparation too physically demanding. John Ratzenberger took his place in the competition. Pastore was featured as a contestant on the January 2008 edition of Celebrity Apprentice. In the second week, Vincent participated in raising $52,286.00 by selling hot dogs on a Manhattan Street, for that week’s charity. And in a task of selling Broadway show tickets, Pastore as Project Manager lead his team to raise $33,300 for charity. In week 5, Pastore originally got into a faked, blow-out conflict with the project manager of the task, Piers Morgan in order to see if Pastore could get the women to let him on their team to spy on them. The episode had played out like an episode of The Sopranos with Pastore switching allegiances multiple times. But, then, Pastore was deliberately "ratted out" to the women by Morgan in the end, to make Pastore look bad to the women. While Pastore and the women then lost their task, besides, before Trump even lifted a finger to fire anyone that week, Pastore resigned from the show and Trump eventually accepted Pastore's resignation after trying to convince him to stay. The show ended with a sequence based on the series finale of The Sopranos, ending abruptly before Pastore could give the customary end-of-show interview in the cab. Week 6 episode begins with Pastore meeting his ex wife Nancy in a restaurant and presenting her the check he received for being Project Manager for $50,000, in memory of her husband, Mitchell Burke’s Memorial fund with the Lustgarden Foundation. On July 1, Pastore appeared on NBC’s new show, Celebrity Family Feud, as part of a family team trying to win $50,000 for their favorite charity. He first competed, with his friends and family, against the cast of The Girls Next Door. Then, Pastore's team made it to the finals against Kathy Lee Gifford's family, but did not win. However, Pastore and his team picked up a $10,000 consolation prize for their charity, which is researching a cure for pancreatic cancer.
Pastore hosts The Wiseguy Show on Sirius Satellite Radio (Raw Dog, channel 104), described as a "weekly three-hour celebration of Italian-American culture." It currently airs on Wednesdays from 6pm-9pm
Pastore is divorced, having previously been married to Nancy Berke. He became friends with Berke's subsequent husband, Mitchell, and donated the winnings from his stint on the Apprentice to a charity in his name. He still lives on City Island in the Bronx.