Biography

Devoted pay-cable viewers will most commonly associate the beefy Italian-American character actor Joseph R. Gannascoli with his portrayal of Vito Spatafore, the closet-homosexual mobster and member of the DiMeo crime syndicate (who meets a grim fate after a night in a leather bar) on the long-running HBO crime drama The Sopranos. In truth, the actor originally portrayed another character -- a pastry chef -- in a single episode of season one, and returned as Vito in later seasons, gradually ascending to the level of a regular. Gannascoli's interest in the subject of La Cosa Nostra extends beyond the confines of the series: he authored the darkly comic Mafia-themed (and culinary-tinged) book A Meal to Die For: A Culinary Novel of Crime, which received a rave review from Publishers' Weekly when it emerged in late 2005. Though Gannascoli is best known for his evocation of Vito, his resumé also includes bit parts in such movies as Blowfish (1998), On the Run (1999), and Artie Lange's Beer League -- with the actor often cast as an Italian heavy. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi