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James Gandolfini Gave $33k To Each Of His Sopranos Castmates From His Salary

Anish Vij

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James Gandolfini Gave $33k To Each Of His Sopranos Castmates From His Salary

The late great James Gandolfini paid up a total of more than half a million dollars to his cast mates from The Sopranos.

As shown in the book, Tinderbox: HBO's Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers, James Andrew Miller reveals that the actor gave $33,000 (£25,000) to each of the main cast members due to a protracted contract battle.

The 51-year-old, who died of a heart attack in 2013, had his own reasons for paying out such an amount, as reported by the New York Post.

According to the journalist, the difficulties began with contract disputes, where the Tony Soprano actor wanted a salary bump for playing the leading role.

After initially being on a clean $5 million (£3.7 million) during the first two seasons, which aired in 1999, Gandolfini managed to negotiate two times that amount by season three.

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

However, Miller claims that the actor and his team were not satisfied and as the seasons went by they requested a $20 million (£15 million) salary per season.

Prior to the sixth season conclusion in 2007, he filed a breach of contract lawsuit against HBO, in which he allegedly requested the termination of his contract in order to sway the negotiations his way.

HBO then countersued for a whopping $100 million (£75 million) in charges.

"Jim was a brilliant actor but a complicated guy to deal with," former HBO President of Programming Mike Lombardo told Miller in an interview.

Gandolfini even stopped turning up to set and the former HBO CEO, Christ Albrecht, responded by punishing the rest of the cast.

Miller goes on to write about how the actor wasn't willing to ruin the relationship/livelihoods of his fellow cast mates and eventually accepted a final offer of $13 million (£9.7 million).

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

That's when Gandolfini wrote a check for $33,000 (£25,000) to each of the main cast members to make up for what happened.

"I'm very happy that The Sopranos will be back," Gandolfini said in a statement at the time.

"It's a show that I love doing, with people that I love working with."

At the time, co-star Steve Schirripa told WFAN station: "As good of an actor as he was, he was a better guy. A generous guy. The guy gave us $33,000 each — 16 people."

"In Season 4 he called every one of the regular cast members and gave us a check.

"He said, 'Thanks for sticking by me'. It’s like buying 16 people a car."

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: TV and Film

Anish Vij
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