“One of a kind” James Gandolfini gave ‘Sopranos’ cast bonus out of his own salary

"He had gotten a big raise and just divided it among the cast. He was one of a kind"

Sopranos cast member Steve Van Zandt has recalled how the late James Gandolfini gave cast members a share of a pay rise he received while on the show.

Ganolfini, who played mob boss Tony Soprano in the long-running HBO show, had received a “big” pay rise according to Van Zandt and decided to share it among his fellow cast members.

When asked about whether or not Gandolfini “gave each actor [in] The Sopranos $33,000 of his own money”, Van Zandt confirmed that he did – though not to settle a “salary dispute” as had been reported previously.

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Replying to the fan, Van Zandt said: “It wasn’t to settle a salary dispute. He had gotten a big raise and just divided it among the cast. He was one of a kind.”

You can see the tweet here:

Earlier this year, actor Lin-Manuel Miranda recalled his experience filming a small role on The Sopranos and how Gandolfini helped him on set.

The Hamilton creator appeared as a hotel employee in the 15th episode of the sixth season, who crosses paths with Tony Soprano (Gandolfini) and Paulie Gualtieri (Tony Sirico) during their road trip from New Jersey to Florida.

The actor detailed how Gandolfini helped calm his nerves while filming. “My one story about Gandolfini was that he stayed and did his sides even though it was the end of the night. He had no need to do that,” Miranda added. “He stayed and did the scene for the scared-shitless Puerto Rican kid in the bellhop outfit.”

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Speaking about Gandolfini, Miranda also said the actor would always be out on set and never hid away in his trailer. “He was just out, and people would talk to him,” he added.

Last year, The Sopranos writer Todd Kessler said Gandolfini took him out for dinner after he was fired from the HBO series. More recently, actor Peter Riegert recalled that Gandolfini defended him when he was uncomfortable filming a nude scene.

Gandolfini passed away aged 51 from a heart attack in 2013.

A prequel spin-off film, The Many Saints Of Newark, was released last year, starring his son Michael Gandolfini as a young Tony Soprano.

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