James Gandolfini Once Helped His ‘Sopranos’ Co-Star After MS Diagnosis

by Keeli Parkey
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Late actor James Gandolfini played the character of mobster Tony Soprano in “The Sopranos” to great acclaim for six seasons on HBO.

Tony was a complicated, menacing, violent, angry, criminal, who was focused on getting money through pretty much any nefarious scheme that came his way. He’s not really someone you would want to be in your life. But fans still loved the character.

Also, Tony was one of the first anti-heroes on television. That character laid the groundwork for others that followed. One example is Walter White from “Breaking Bad.”

Gandolfini, on the other hand, was warm and kind and loving and supportive of his co-stars. In fact, he once helped one of his co-stars on “The Sopranos” after she was diagnosed with Multiple sclerosis (MS). This disease, according to the Mayo Clinic, “is a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system).”

That co-star is actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler, according to Insider. She played Meadow Soprano during the show’s run from 1999 until 2017. As fans of the show are aware, Meadow was one of two children Tony shared with his wife, Carmela Soprano (Edie Falco). The fictional couple also had Anthony Jr. or A.J. (Robert Iler) as he was usually called.

‘Sopranos’ Actress Said James Gandolfini ‘Stepped Up’ to Help Her

At the same time she was finding out that she had MS, Sigler was also getting divorced from her first husband. It was a very difficult time in her life. And she said James Gandolfini “stepped up” to help her. She talked about this in the new oral history of “The Sopranos,” titled “Woke Up This Morning.”

Sigler was first married to AJ DiScala. They divorced in 2005. She is now married to Cutter Dykstra, a professional baseball player.

“There was a time in the maybe fourth or fifth season where I was dealing with my divorce privately and my diagnosis of MS and a lot of other stuff that I wasn’t talking to people about, and he really stepped up,” Sigler said of the man who played her on-screen father.

One thing James Gandolfini also did to help Sigler was send someone who could help her with her work. This was just one way “The Sopranos” star also helped the actress. “He sent his acting coach, Susan Aston, to work with me, just to make sure I was taken care of. Little things like that, that he really just stepped up in amazing ways,” Sigler also said.

Stories About James Gandolfini in New Book

It should come as no surprise that many stories about James Gandolfini appear in “Woke Up This Morning.”

The book was written by Michael Imperioli and Steve Schirripa. Imperioli played Christopher Moltisanti. Schirripa, who now appears in “Blue Bloods,” played Bobby Baccalieri. They also created the book with Todd Kessler, who was a writer on the drama until he was fired. After he had to leave the show, James Gandolfini reached out to Kessler and they went to dinner.

“‘You hold your head high and know that you did great work,'” Kessler remembered Gandolfini also telling him at the time.

Sadly, James Gandolfini unexpectedly passed away in 2013. He was 51 years old at the time of his death.

Outsider.com