The Sopranos cast reunites to take phone donations for Sandy benefit gig
The cast of hit mafia series The Sopranos reunited for a good cause on Wednesday as actors James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco, Tony Sirico and Steve Van Zandt helped to man the phones during the 12-12-12 Concert for Sandy Relief benefit in New York City.
Gandolfini, who portrayed mob boss Tony Soprano on the classic TV drama, joined forces with a slew of his former co-stars, including his onscreen son Robert Iler, Aida Turturro, Steve Schirripa, Vincent Pastore, Federico Castelluccio, Joe Pantoliano and Vincent Curatola to answer calls backstage at Madison Square Garden as viewers phoned in to make donations.
US newscaster Brian Williams spoke to the actors during the telethon, revealing that Pantoliano, affectionately known as Joey Pants, had actually reconnected with an old foe while fielding calls on air: "Joey Pants was on the phone, (he) talked to a guy he had a fight with 30 years ago in Fort Lee (New Jersey)... Timmy Kelly of Fort Lee calls in 30 years after their fight, gets Joey Pants (on the phone); he's donating money."
Meanwhile, fellow New Jersey native Gandolfini admitted he was heartbroken to watch his state's famous Jersey Shore Boardwalk washed away in superstorm Sandy, which caused havoc across America's East Coast in late October.
He said, "It's pretty devastating... It's a whole way of life. I went there with my parents, I bring my kids there; it's a place where we all get together, the whole family comes down... I worked on the Boardwalk when I was a kid, 12, 13 years old. The thing about it, it was a mum and pop place, there weren't chains, there weren't large groups owning anything and now I think that might be destroyed, the whole way of doing things down there is gonna have to change and it breaks your heart."
Another Sopranos star, Steve Buscemi, also appeared at the charity bash, serving as one of the presenters at the epic gig, while Van Zandt pulled double duty to perform as part of The E Street Band with his pal Bruce Springsteen, who opened the star-studded show.
The 12-12-12 Concert for Sandy Relief, which raised money for the Robin Hood Relief Fund, was broadcast on TV and online around the world and also featured sets from rock icons such as Sir Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, The Who, Eric Clapton and Billy Joel.
The Sopranos wrapped in 2007 after six seasons.