Sopranos ‘Johnny Sack’ sings Sinatra, remembers James Gandolfini
It seems like only yesterday but it's been 5 years since June 19, 2013 when we lost James Gandolfini, who died suddenly at the age of 51 in Rome. Vince Curatola, who played "Johnny Sack" in "The Sopranos," will be performing "Come Fly With Me" on a summer night at Tim McLoone's Supper Club Saturday, July 14. The Englewood born actor called in to speak about his colleague and friend whom he met back in 1994 and was around constantly. "We were like family," Curatola said.
Curatola describes Gandolfini. "Extremely generous man, very heartfelt, and he always stood by the rest of the cast. If we were having any kind of a negotiation with HBO whatever, he always stood by us. He always made sure we got straightened out."
Soprano fans will remember that Tony Soprano stuck up for Johnny Sack, especially when he broke down after being led away in handcuffs at his daughter's wedding.
"Steve Buscemi directed that episode and it was in the script that Johnny Sack has to cry, so I walked over to him and said, 'Steve how am I gonna cry like on a dime?' And he said, 'Think about you're last negotiation with HBO.' I cried.
The "Come Fly With Me" show is a Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin type show mixed with Soprano stories and draws on Curatola's Englewood roots where he delivered The Bergen Evening Record to the stars.
Curatola explains, "I grew up on this great street where Van McCoy, who wrote 'The Hustle,' lived. 3 doors up from him was Dizzy Gillespie, across from him was Sarah Vaughan, Tony Bennet was up about 9 houses, Lesley Gore, Wilson Pickett, Jerry Vale, so I had 'em all." He even got to see Bobby Darin who's songs he'll be singing.
"When I was a kid, Bobby Darin used to come across the street to some guy's house in the neighborhood once a year for a party and sing songs, so I have memories of him since I was ten years-old," he said.
Vince was also friends with Englewood native John Travolta, who's currently portraying John Gotti. "Knew them extremely well, him, his older brother Joey, Ann, they all went to St. Cecilia grammar school where I went and the same church."
The Soprano cast was and remains a family and many have been coming out to see the show. "We're never far away from each other after all these years."
More from New Jersey 101.5: