News Trending Viral Worldwide

James Gandolfini Gave 16 Of His ‘The Sopranos’ Castmates $33,000 Each After Signing A Big Contract

In the wake of James Gandolfini’s death from a heart attack in 2013 at the age of 51, many friends, family members, associates, and even politicians took to the internet to express their sadness over the loss. It didn’t take long for people to notice how many people spoke about The Sopranos star’s generosity. As The New York Post reports, one particularly benevolent act impacted more than a dozen of Gandolfini’s co-stars, who still talk about it today.

In James Andrew Miller’s new book, Tinderbox: HBO’s Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers, the author shares that Gandolfini originally signed on to play Tony Soprano for $5 million per season. After the show’s third season, HBO doubled that amount to $10 million. Miller writes that Gandolfini and his team continued to push for more and more money after that, and that it got contentious enough that in 2003 the actor filed a breach of contract lawsuit against the network, who then countersued the star.

“Jim was a brilliant actor but a complicated guy to deal with,” Mike Lombardo, HBO’s former president of programming says in Tinderbox. The negotiations eventually got to a point where the only choice would have been to stop production on the series, leaving the cast and crew of one of television’s most celebrated drama’s suddenly unemployed. Not wanting to upend the lives of his colleagues, Gandolfini agreed to the network’s offer of $13 million, or $1 million per episode. And once that contract was signed, the actor wrote checks to 16 of his co-stars in the amount of $33,000 apiece to make up for any troubles his personal dealings with the network might have caused them.

Steve Schirripa, who played Bobby Baccalieri, one of Tony’s underlings—and eventually his brother-in-law—shared the story of this act of kindness shortly after Gandolfini’s death.

“As good of an actor as he was, he was a better guy,” Schirripa told a New York City radio station in 2013. “A generous guy. The guy gave us $33,000 each—16 people. In Season 4 he called every one of the regular castmembers and gave us a check. He said, ‘Thanks for sticking by me.’ It’s like buying 16 people a car.”

Not a car that Tony would ever drive, but yes, a car nonetheless.

(Via The New York Post)