'Sopranos' Actor: James Gandolfini Gave Costars Gifts of $33,000
Steve Schirripa said of the late star: "as good of an actor as he was, he was a better guy."
James Gandolfini’s friends and colleagues continue to honor the memory of the late actor, who died Wednesday in Italy.
Gandolfini’s Sopranos costar Steve Schirripa said Friday the actor once gave him and 15 other actors on the show $33,000 each.
“As good of an actor as he was, he was a better guy. A generous guy. The guy gave us $33,000 each — 16 people," Schirripa said in an interview with New York’s WFAN radio station. "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.”
Schirripa played Bobby Baccalieri (“Bobby Bacala”) on the HBO hit from season 2 through season 6. He said Gandolfini was always concerned with his costar’s deals when salary negotiations came around and that he wanted to ensure they were happy with them.
“My legs came out from under me,” Schirripa said of hearing the news of Gandolfini’s death. “I was completely stunned because Jim is the kind of guy who is invincible. He’s like that kind of guy. Nothing could happen to this guy.”
Schirripa also took issue with comments Larry King has made about the late star’s eating habits and health. In an interview with KTLA, King remembered Gandolfini as a friend whom he saw several months ago at a Las Vegas benefit.
“I couldn’t believe it. I knew he overweight,” King told KTLA. “I knew he was not in good shape, but he was so alive. It’s just a really sad, sad story.”
Schirripa slammed King’s comments.
“Larry King doesn’t know him… he’s an ass is what he is,” Schirripa said.
An autopsy revealed Gandolfini died of cardiac arrest.
Gandolfini has been receiving honors since his death, with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie ordering flags be flown at half mass, and HBO, Bruce Springsteen, the New York Yankees and many more paying tribute.