James Gandolfini Gave ‘Sopranos’ Castmates Lavish Gifts, Co-Star Says


For nearly a decade, acclaimed actor James Gandolfini led a talented cast of stars in the hit HBO series The Sopranos. Gandolfini is remembered most today for his role as mafia boss Tony Soprano. And despite him being the show’s most recognizable face, he never considered himself to be above any of his co-stars. 

On the show, Emmy winner Drea de Matteo played Adriana La Cerva, the longtime girlfriend of Tony Soprano’s associate Christopher Moltisanti. When reflecting on her years working with Gandolfini in an interview with Fox News, de Matteo spoke fondly of “his generosity” behind the scenes. She went on to recount how he even stepped up to the plate when she and other castmates were left out of a lucrative business arrangement. 

“This is a man who called us into his trailer one by one and gave us each checks for $30,000. And we’re like, ‘What is this for?’ He’s like, ‘We just cut a deal for DVDs, and they didn’t include you guys,'” she remembered. De Matteo claimed that the cast doesn’t get residuals for the HBO show, likening it to actors striking last year for similarly being shafted in streaming distribution deals. 

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De Matteo departed the show before its final season, but Gandolfini’s kindness didn’t stop. “I heard he did other crazy things after I left,” she said. “He had some guy walking around the Emmys with him with a bag full of very expensive watches, and after the Emmys, he gave out watches to all the cast.”

Beyond the pricey gifts, Gandolfini paid his appreciation forward in other, smaller ways. “It was just a constant thing with him,” de Matteo said, recounting instances of him “ordering food for the crew and the cast every Friday. “There were just always different stories,” she said. “He was a gem. He was humble.”

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