‘Sopranos’ Actor Cooks Up a Literary Debut

By Forward Staff

Published May 26, 2006, issue of May 26, 2006.
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Journalism is a dangerous business. Just this week, a Forward editor found himself face to face with one of America’s best-known gangsters.

Managing editor Wayne Hoffman appeared Monday on “OutQ in the Morning.” The show is broadcast on Sirius satellite radio’s channel 106, which is aimed at gay listeners. He was there talking about his gay-themed debut novel, “Hard,” which was released earlier this month by Carroll & Graf. After Hoffman’s interview was over, however, he decided to stick around to meet the next guest: Joe Gannascoli, who played Vito Spatafore on HBO’s hit series “The Sopranos.”

Gannascoli chatted with Hoffman and the “OutQ in the Morning” hosts about his character’s recent coming out — and subsequent murder — on the show. The gay plotline was the (straight) Brooklyn-born actor’s brainchild, although he said it was show creator David Chase’s ironic idea to have Vito’s former friend Phil Leotardo come out of the closet — literally — to watch Vito get whacked in last week’s episode. And while Gannascoli said that he’s sorry to leave the successful series, he holds out hope that his groundbreaking role will earn him an Emmy.

Hoffman and Gannascoli share more than a spot at the same microphone. Gannascoli, too, recently published a novel, “A Meal To Die For: A Culinary Novel of Crime,” which he co-wrote with Allen C. Kupfer. The self-taught chef, who’s currently marketing his own line of pasta sauces under the brand name To Die For, packed a string of recipes into his mob-themed literary debut.

A few hours after their Sirius appearance, both Hoffman and Gannascoli saw their sales on Amazon spike. Hoffman’s book was ranked slightly ahead in the afternoon, but he knew better than to mention it — even to a man who only plays a gangster on TV.

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