We are truly blessed today with what television has to offer. The amount of content available is astounding. Much of our focus, however, is on the godfather of the television show, “The Sopranos.” It is an unrestricted look into the life of a dysfunctional family of New Jersey mobsters. It’s gritty and realistic, and captivating. You might even call it must-watch television. Cigars factored heavily into the series, both on and off the set. So, considering the Sopranos smoke cigars, the show is an excellent topic for Cigar Life Guy readers.
The Sopranos Smoke Cigars Like a Boss
James Gandolfini played the iconic role: of the cigar-loving Tony Soprano. The part was easy for the late Gandolfini; He was also a long-time cigar aficionado. Gandolfini often smoked three to four cigars weekly. He loved the ability to relax for 45 minutes without care. Regarding cigars and cigarettes, he said, “Cigarette smokers try to get through the smoke as quickly as possible, whereas cigar smokers let the taste and experience linger.”
Wiseguys Know What they Are Doing
The opening credits feature Tony Soprano driving through the Lincoln Tunnel with a thumping baseline and a cigar blazing. Vinny Pastore, who played Big Pussy, often smoked intimidating-sized cigars. But, he said, “It’s more than a prop. Its symbolism. People who smoke cigarettes are nervous. A cigar is a personal thing. An extension of character.”
According to the show’s creator, David Chase, cigars weren’t accidental. They served as intended props. Cigar smoking invokes power and a level of authority. The cigars, like authority, were wielded with a heavy hand.
Sopranos Smoke Cigars: From Boss to V.P.
Jim Gandolfini smoked a cigar a couple of times a week. Yet, Joe Pantoliano’s habit is more voracious. He smokes a couple of sticks a day. Pantoliano was an early investor and vice president of L.A.’s Grand Havana Room, a prestigious smoking lounge. He jokes that he’s a compulsive guy; when Pantoliano gets into something, he takes it to heart. Pantoliano loves everything about cigars, including all of the accessories. He also praises his amazingly tolerant wife, who lets him smoke anywhere he wants around the house.
Pantoliano played in many other movies, such as” Bad Boys” and “Steal Big, Steal Little.” For each show, he made a great effort to acquire a supply of good sticks he could smoke onscreen. He even made advance calls to cigar companies to make his requests. Both Davidoff and Fuente quickly obliged. In addition, his relationship is so close with the Fuente family that they sent him a unique anniversary release cigar for his wedding.
Life Imitates Art
Both Gandolfini and Pantoliano have expressed a love of Cuban cigars. Pantoliano loves the Bolivar Gigante, a massive cigar fit for a king. Or at least a Mob boss. Cigar maker CAO created a line of cigars in conjunction with the show.
Like the bold, showy attitude of the Sopranos, it comes in a flashy cherry-red box designed to look like a car’s trunk. The cigars came in three sizes; Associate, Soldier, and Boss reflecting the mobster hierarchy. Of course, any diehard Sopranos fans will immediately associate a car trunk and its implications with mob life.
Away from the set, the actors agree on the same thing; cigars, like the show, are about family. Getting together and just relaxing. So, you got a problem with that?
Photo credit: “James Gandolfini Sept 11,” by GDC Graphics, Wikimedia Commons license CC BY-SA 2.0