How Much Was Vito Spatafore Like ‘Sopranos’ Star Joe Gannascoli in Real Life?


While engaged on The Sopranos, the late James Gandolfini grew weary of how David Chase and his screenwriting crew used particulars from actors’ lives for the characters on the present. Gandolfini started calling them “vampires” and puzzled aloud whose blood they deliberate to suck subsequent.

In the case of Tony Sirico, the writers took fairly a bit from his life for the character of Paulie Walnuts. Sirico lived along with his mom in Brooklyn; is a germaphobe; had by no means been to Italy; and speaks identical to Paulie. And the writers didn’t cease with Sirico.

In a dialog with Showbiz Cheat Sheet, Joe Gannascoli instructed us how the present’s writers took particulars from his life for the character of Vito Spatafore. Aside from the burden loss theme, they had been rather more refined with Gannascoli than they’d been with Sirico and different actors on the present.

Vito’s weight reduction and unhealthy hips got here from Gannascoli’s life.

Joseph Gannascoli as Vito Spatafore in ‘The Sopranos’ | HBO

The most evident issues plucked from Gannascol’s life had been bodily. Gannascoli had unhealthy hips when the present was on the air, and he famous how one can see it in his stroll. (During his trudge by a rainstorm in New Hampshire, his limp is kind of obvious.)

Those hips would plague him till his run on The Sopranos ended. With Vito out of the image as a personality, Gannascoli had time for double hip-replacement surgical procedure.

Meanwhile, the weight-loss commercials Vito does initially of Season Six additionally got here from Gannascoli’s life. At one level, he weighed 400 lbs. But he had lap-band surgical procedure and commenced a critical food regimen, with drugs and train, to get all the way down to 260 in the previous decade.

As Vito did on The Sopranos, Gannascoli labored as a spokesman for weight-loss firms over time. However, he’s struggled to maintain the burden off since.

Gannascoli’s fixed hustle and fervour for meals additionally got here out in Vito.

Joseph Gannascoli, who performs mobster Vito Spatafore in HBO’s “The Sopranos,” discusses the present at Paneantico restaurant on Third Ave. in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. | Todd Maisel/NY Daily News Archive through Getty Images

Sopranos characters by no means went lengthy between meals, and that’s one thing Gannascoli all the time associated to. Before turning into an actor, he labored as a chef in New York and New Orleans. (In his early days on The Sopranos, he nonetheless had a restaurant in Brooklyn referred to as Soup As Art.)

So if you see Vito respect the “johnny cakes” and house-made sausages made by his love curiosity in New Hampshire, that half didn’t take numerous appearing.

Vito’s fixed hustle is one thing that applies to Gannascoli in actual life as properly. In our dialog, he talked about a e book he co-wrote, a product line he licensed to the NFL, and a number of other different ventures, Gannascoli doesn’t sit tight for lengthy with out questioning the place he’ll make his subsequent buck.

To that finish, Gannascoli appears at-ease whether or not he’s greeting followers at certainly one of his common restaurant appearances on Long Island or turning up on Fox News to inform Neil Cavuto about know-how that may assist forestall mass-shootings. (He works as a guide for a corporation referred to as Intralogic Solutions.)

Beyond that, Gannascoli is fortunately married with a spouse and younger daughter. So the similarities to Vito abruptly finish there.

Also seeThe 1 Thing ‘Sopranos’ Star Tony Sirico Couldn’t Stand About Playing Paulie Walnuts



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