Don’t tell Joe Causi, but there’s another big man in town by the name of “Brooklyn’s Own.” Best known as mobster Bobby Baccalieri on HBO’s wildly popular crime drama The Sopranos, Steve Schirripa‘s character worked his way from soldier to capo over the course of six seasons.
That’s typically how it works in any organization, legitimate or not: you start from the bottom and climb the corporate/underworld ladder. The same can be said for Schirripa’s acting career, as he took small parts while holding other jobs when he lived in Las Vegas. There’s just one exception: the first steps a would-be actor should take were approached a bit differently.
“I did it all in reverse. I didn’t even have a headshot when I got the job,” says Schirripa, who auditioned for the role while in town for a wedding. “Then I started taking classes when I got the job.”
“I had on the job training from some of the best actors in the world and I was very, very lucky. Literally like hitting the lottery,” he added.
Normally, lottery winners see a dramatic influx of cash from the start, which wasn’t the case for Schirripa during the show’s first season.
“I flew back and forth the first year. I kept my day job,” says Schirripa, who was booking acts in Las Vegas at the time. “It cost me $22,000 to make $24,000.”
Acting never has and still isn’t Schirripa’s only job. This year, he launched Uncle Steve’s Italian Specialties; a line of organic, vegan, and kosher pasta sauces with no added sugar. It looks like a guy from the neighborhood knows the reputation of the new kids heading into town.
See more of his products at unclestevesny.com.