A year ago tomorrow, James Gandolfini died & the Joe Gannascoli / Steve Schirripa feud began | Bob's Blitz

A year ago tomorrow, James Gandolfini died & the Joe Gannascoli / Steve Schirripa feud began

A year ago tomorrow, James Gandolfini died at the age of 51. And in the aftermath, Steve Schirripa looked to take out fellow Sopranos cast member Joe Gannascoli. Today, we revisit that fight:

Exclusive -- In the wake of the death of James Gandolfini, Steve Schirripa has been all over the New York Post –– both as an author and now apparently, as an unnamed source himself...According to Blitz sources.

Schirripa first appears on Friday, June 21 with the heartfelt tribute Steve Schirripa remembers James Gandolfini as a truly good fella. In the very same issue the Post runs 'Sopranos' star James Gandolfini guzzled at least eight drinks during his final meal: source - the first of what many have called gratuitous coverage of the Sopranos’ star’s death. Appearing that afternoon with Mike Francesa Schirripa makes no mention of disgust with the NYP, angering some former HBO staff...and leaving them asking, 'Why not?'

Interestingly enough, the Post calls out Joseph R. Gannascoli in an Exclusive (which includes the front page cover) June 25 article: ‘Sopranos’ raging over Gannascoli’s press blitz following Gandolfini's death:

The cast of “The Sopranos” is furious at Joe Gannascoli, who played gay gangster Vito Spatafore, for doing a series of glowing interviews about James Gandolfini — when in fact they were not close friends and hadn’t talked in years.

Sources tell Page Six that Gandolfini and his series co-stars were turned off years ago by Gannascoli’s “grandstanding” and self-promotion. One said, “After joining the show, Joe hired his own p.r. person and would do all this press for himself, and it just became too much. Jim was very much a team player, and would only do interviews if it was to help someone in the ‘Sopranos’ family, or as a group.

“But Joe was the opposite; he kept grandstanding and it became a turnoff for Jim and [‘Sopranos’ creator] David Chase. It also rubbed most of the cast the wrong way. Then, as soon as Jim died, Joe was grandstanding again. He wasn’t close to Jim. They probably haven’t spoken in around seven years. Some members of the cast feel like Joe is using Jimmy’s death to get his own name out there.”

Multiple sources have told the Blitz much of the above is untrue and that Schirripa alone may be 'raging' at Gannascoli. A rivalry that reportedly stems from Joseph's Sopranos season six breakout role as gay mobster Spatafore. A jealousy that today apparently includes not wanting Gannascoli to garner positive publicity or success. Our research showed that no publicity person was employed by Gannascoli during Sopranos work (or, quite honestly, at no point since for that matter). A second source indicates that he didn't think Joe even used an agent. ("James Hoving" might ring a bell for some...)

Research turned up a photo of Joseph's 2005 wedding...attended by James Gandolfini.

An internet search also turned up tales of a smiling Gandolfini at Gannascoli's 'Soup as Art' Brooklyn restaurant. Eye witness accounts indicate cast mates would often join Joe there to help promote his business. A sick as a dog Jim was once there front and center, signing autographs and helping out his pal.

The Post did allow a rebuttal of sorts…. Far from the front page cover (and edited). BobsBlitz.com has exclusively obtained Gannascoli's full defense from a media source, and it confirms:

First and foremost let me say that the sudden loss of Jimmy [Gandolfini] who leaves behind a beautiful wife and a 13-yr-old son and a daughter just 8 months old is beyond tragic. He was someone we all looked up to as our leader and he was a truly gifted actor. But more than that he was a humble, regular, and compassionate guy who was taken from us way too early.

The last thing in the world I want to be is a distraction. It’s a shame that you, (and you alone - not cast ‘members’) decided to bring up this story now when his family is grieving as is the rest of the world. I didn't want to respond so soon because unlike you, (I know who you are, always have, and it was confirmed.) I thought that would have been distasteful. I find it comical that you think I was "grandstanding" when in fact you are the biggest media pig out there. It's an inside joke that whenever there was a camera you knew who to be beside for photo ops, or where and when the camera was on you. Comically showing up for Rangers games when you hate hockey. 
Quite the calculating shill.

But then you turned my heartfelt tributes to Jim into something ugly, you crossed the line. But instead of going after the paper that insinuated what Jim ate and drank his last day had something to do with his passing you went after me. No balls. Karma just called - they are looking for you.

I could refute every one of your silly accusations but that would only fuel this nonsense and give it credence. I've learned that you can't un-ring a bell, and so it goes. What's most important to me is that my family, friends, the Soprano crew, fans and the people I respect know my character and the truth.

This story has absolutely broken my heart. But then again I considered the source which gave me solace. Why you would come out with this story at a time when Jim was not even buried is really sad on your part.

I feel sorry for you. You are an angry person but really you should be so thankful for what God has put in your path. But more importantly than you is that the world has lost a great actor, friend, humanitarian, husband and loving father. That's the real story. I can only pray that God gives strength to his family, wife and kids in the years to come.

The ceremony for Jim was spectacular, moving, and fit for a King. And to you James I say, go easy my friend until we meet again, I will bring the gabagool. Joey G

Calculating. So much so that Schirripa was back in the Post again yesterday. Able to promote his book once more via Inside ’Sopranos’ star-turned-author Steve Schirripa's Battery Park City condo. How convenient. Don't even have to do the math.

As an aside, Bobsblitz.com is aware of an ongoing feud between Gannascoli and WFAN's and Craig Carton. We have reached out to Joe to see if he would like to respond to this article...with an offer to reply to Carton’s on air assassination last week.

We will let you know if we receive a response.

We never received a response.

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