'Sopranos' Star Joseph Gannascoli Tourist Deaths in Dominican Rep. Don't Scare Me ... I'm Boozing It Up!!!

Exclusive
"WE'RE HAVING A BALL"

Joseph Gannascoli -- famous for playing Vito Spatafore on "The Sopranos" -- isn't the slightest bit worried about a rash of mysterious tourist deaths in the Dominican Republic ... he says come on down, the booze is fine!!! 

The actor is down in Punta Cana enjoying the final days of his vacation with his wife, daughter and family friends ... and he tells us there have been no signs of trouble in paradise. 

As we've reported ... at least 10 Americans have died while either staying at resorts in D.R. or shortly upon returning to the U.S. -- some from respiratory complications and many from heart attacks. 

Joseph tells us his resort, Royalton Bavaro, is PACKED with tourists on summer vacations ... but he says no one is walking around on eggshells. 

They might be stumbling, though, because Joseph says everyone is taking full advantage of the all-inclusive alcohol. Fears about tainted booze be damned.

Check out our clip ... sounds like Joseph never wants to leave the island. He's basically the anti-Rick Springfield

Michael Gandolfini Rocking That '70s Look ... Playing Young Tony Soprano

James Gandolfini's son is back in time to portray his famous pops ... and it's soooo groovy, man.

Michael Gandolfini was in Queens Friday on the set of the 'Sopranos' prequel ... "The Many Saints of Newark." Michael is playing young Tony Soprano. Looks like he's having a far-out time working alongside costars Alan Taylor, Alexandra Intrator and Gabriella Piazza.

Gotta admit ... 19-year-old Michael's making the bell bottoms and butterfly collar work for him. The movie focuses on the Jersey gangster's formative years, and it's set to be released September 2020.

2/4/19
BADA BING!
@adamglyn

You'll recall Michael couldn't stop grinning ear to ear back in February at the thought of playing his late father's most iconic role ... especially after beating out some tough competition.

Michael Gandolfini It's Exciting to Step into My Dad's Shoes

EXCLUSIVE 2/4/19
BADA BING!
@adamglyn

James Gandolfini's son couldn't stop grinning ear to ear at the thought of playing his late father's most iconic role, and his smile says it perfectly -- Michael Gandolfini's up for the challenge.

Michael spoke to Adam Glyn while out in NYC Monday night -- hanging out with "The Deuce" star Chris Bauer -- and talked a little bit about the upcoming 'Sopranos' prequel. Michael's playing young Tony Soprano in "The Many Saints of Newark."

It's easy to see why Michael got the role ... for starters, the resemblance is uncanny. And, he reportedly beat out stiff competition because he mastered his father's iconic character's mannerisms. Can't beat the genes, baby!

Awesome to see Michael carry on James' legacy. As we reported ... James died of a heart attack in 2013 while on a boys' trip with Michael in Italy.

Check out the clip ... Michael's got Boss written all over him.

'Sopranos' Star Vincent Pastore Thrilled Michael Gandolfini's Playing Young Tony ... 'Jimmy's Smiling in Heaven'

EXCLUSIVE
PERFECT MAN FOR THE JOB
TMZ.com

"The Sopranos" prequel movie's on the way, and fans are stoked James Gandolfini's son will play a young Tony ... but perhaps none more than the show's very own "Big Pussy."

We got actor Vincent Pastore, who played Salvatore Bonpensiero on the series, leaving Papa John's Deli in the Bronx ... and he's over the moon about 19-year-old Michael Gandolfini landing the role his dad made famous in the upcoming film, "The Many Saints of Newark."

Vincent tells us the casting choice is beautiful, and his old pal Jimmy is looking down from heaven and smiling. He points out this isn't a case of Hollywood nepotism ... "little Michael" won the role after an extensive interview process.

Pussy says the timing of the news is perfect too, with 'Sopranos' recently celebrating its 20th anniversary. He's still close with his former castmates and tells us they just got together for a reunion ... and he's clearly happy to add Michael to the family.

As for who might play "Little Pussy" in the prequel, Pastore has a couple ideas. They might not be up for the challenge, though.

Steve Buscemi Wife of 30 Years Dies ... Funeral Held at Family Home

Steve Buscemi's wife died earlier this week and a moving funeral was held at their NYC home ... TMZ has learned.

We're told Jo Andres died either last Monday or over last weekend. On Monday, friends and family began arriving at their Brooklyn home. It appears the funeral service -- at the home -- was held last Tuesday and the burial was Wednesday.

We're told there were around 20 people at the service, including Steve's co-star from "The Big Lebowski" John Turturro and Aida Turturro from "The Sopranos." Steve's brother Michael and Steve's son Lucian were also there.

FDNY blocked off the street Wednesday as the wicker casket was removed from the home. As you know, Buscemi was a volunteer FDNY firefighter on 911.

The company that showed up to do the prep work for the funeral specializes in home funerals and "natural burials" ... where the body is not embalmed and typically the final resting place is in a "natural setting." Everything is biodegradable and one of the purposes is to preserve the environment.

Steve and Jo were married for 30 years. They had a son, Lucian, who's 29.

We do not know the cause of death.

Jo was 65.

RIP

Annabella Sciorra Construction Co. Sued For Cementing Her Condo!

EXCLUSIVE

Two construction companies that worked on 'Sopranos' star Annabella Sciorra's home are getting sued for allegedly causing more than $100k in damages.

Central Construction Management and B&Z Industries worked on Annabella's condo back in December 2015, and according to the lawsuit, they screwed up by allowing wet cement into her crib.

Annabella -- who also starred in "Jungle Fever" and "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle" -- filed a claim with her insurance company, Pacific Indemnity, and got $112,034.97 for the damages. Now Pacific Indemnity is trying to recoup that dough by suing the construction companies.

In docs, obtained by TMZ, Pacific says it's pretty clear the blame lies squarely on the construction companies due to negligence and failure to provide reasonable protection.

Annabella made headlines last year as one of Harvey Weinstein's most vocal accusers. Before that, she was probably best known as Tony Soprano's, ummm ... ill-fated mistress, Gloria. Spoiler alert!

The role scored Annabella an Emmy nomination.

'Sopranos' Star Frank Pellegrino Dead at 72

Frank Pellegrino -- best known for his role as the FBI Chief gunning for Tony Soprano on the HBO hit show -- died after losing his battle with cancer.

Frank -- who also co-owned the popular Italian restaurant Rao's in East Harlem -- died in New York Tuesday. The restaurant, founded in 1896, was famous for celebrity drop-ins ... including Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen and Jay Z.

Frank appeared in "Goodfellas" and 'Law & Order' but he burst onto the scene beginning in 1999 when he was tapped as FBI Chief Frank Cubitoso on 'Sopranos.'

He was 72.

James Gandolfini Rolex Theft a Total 'Sopranos' Deja Vu

EXCLUSIVE

There's an eerie 'Sopranos' coincidence surrounding James Gandolfini and the paramedic on trial for stealing his Rolex the day he died.

The paramedic, whose trial started Monday in Rome, is Claudio Bevilacqua. That name might sound familiar to hardcore 'Sopranos' fans ... since Tony offed a Matt Bevilaqua in a 2001 episode of HBO's hit show.

On the show, Bevilaqua robbed Tony's crew and demanded a watch from one of the guys. The boss eventually catches up with Bevilaqua and delivers some mob justice.

Adding to the creepy life imitating art thing -- Bevilaqua was played by Lillo Brancato, who eventually did time in real life for attempted burglary.

The whole thing is just weird. Check out the TV heist.

BEVILAQUA IN "THE SOPRANOS"
HBO

Ex-Sopranos Star RELEASED FROM PRISON After Burglary Conviction

Breaking News

Lillo Brancato Jr. -- who starred in "The Sopranos" and "A Bronx Tale" -- has been released from prison on parole ... 8 years after he was involved in the killing of an off-duty NYPD officer.

Brancato was sentenced to 10 years in prison back in 2009 after he was convicted of attempted burglary in a 2005 incident that resulted in the death of Officer Daniel Enchautegui.

Brancato was acquitted of murder, but his co-defendant was found guilty of shooting and killing the officer and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Brancato was considered a rising star in Hollywood before the incident ... playing Calogero Anello in 1993's "A Bronx Tale" and Christopher Moltisanti's mob lackey Matthew Bevilaqua in "The Sopranos."

The 37-year-old actor was released on parole early this morning. So far, he has yet to comment.

Cops are FURIOUS with his release ... in fact, the NYC Patrolmen's Benevolent Association (a police labor union) released a scathing statement saying:

"It is our firm belief that Lillo Brancato is guilty of the murder of police officer Daniel Enchautegui even though he was only convicted of attempted burglary."

"The entire law enforcement community will be watching and the minute he steps out of line, we’ll be sure that he is returned to prison to finish out the rest of his sentence."

'Family Guy' Death Strong Evidence ... Brian's DEAD FOR GOOD

EXCLUSIVE

Brian Griffin is dead and he's not coming back ... at least that's the way it appears ... because TMZ has learned, the dog that's replacing him on "Family Guy" has already been booked for several upcoming episodes.

As we reported, former "Sopranos" star Tony Sirico will be voicing Vinnie -- pictured above -- after Brian was killed off in Sunday night's episode.

There's been a lot of hopeful speculation that Brian's death was a one-episode gimmick -- and that the dog will inevitably come back -- but that doesn't seem likely. A rep for Sirico tells us, Vinnie the Dog has already been voiced for another 6 or so episodes.

We're told there's probably even more to come after that, too. Translation: Brian's not coming back ... at least for a very long time ... and probably never.

Sirico doesn't exactly have a clear conscience about all of it though -- his rep says the actor feels horrible that Brian was killed off because the death of any character is sad ... especially a fan favorite ... but c'est la vie.

As for why Brian got the chop, a producer for the show said they just wanted to shake things up.

James Gandolfini 'Sopranos' Stars Flock to Funeral

Family is forever ... "The Sopranos" cast has just arrived in full force for James Gandolfini's funeral today at a church in New York.

Among the stars ... Vincent Pastore (Big Pussy), Lorraine Bracco (Dr. Melfi), Jamie-Lynn Sigler (Meadow), Joe Pantoliano (Ralph Cifaretto), Steve Buscemi (Tony Blundetto), Edie Falco (Carmela), Michael Imperioli (Christopher Moltisanti), and show creator David Chase.

Other celebs in attendance include Alec Baldwin, John Turturro and New Jersey guv Chris Christie.

As we reported, Gandolfini passed away last week from an apparent heart attack. He was 51.

Viva la famiglia.

James Gandolfini's Widow First Photos Out ... Running Errands

EXCLUSIVE

James Gandolfini's widow was spotted out in public for the first time since his death, and her distraction of choice was shopping.

Deborah Lin, Gandolfini's wife of nearly 5 years, took a solo trip to a mall near their L.A. home on Friday, and went shopping at several stores ... including Bloomingdales. She also went to the bank.

According to a family spokesman ... they're working with the Italian government to get James' body back to the U.S. by next week -- and his funeral would be in New York no later than June 29.

James Gandolfini One Last Tribute Dance ... from 'Sopranos' Stripper

EXCLUSIVE

It's a tribute worthy of Tony Soprano -- a Bada Bing stripper from the HBO show has paid her respects to James Gandolfini the only way she knows how ... by spinning around a pole in a g-string to the "Sopranos" theme song ... and it's all on video.

The clip was shot last night at the real-life Bada Bing -- a place called Satin Dolls in Lodi, NJ -- and it features longtime Bada Bing veteran Diana Lynn, who first appeared on the "The Sopranos" pilot episode back in 1999.

Diana -- who worked as a background dancer in several "Sopranos" episodes thereafter -- has been dancing at Satin Dolls for 15 years.

Diana says she's heartbroken by the loss of the great actor -- telling us she formed a bond with Gandolfini during his "Sopranos" days. She says the actor often hung around Satin Dolls after filming just to squeeze in some quality stripper time.

And based on the video, it really meant a lot to her. Bada bing, bada boom.

James Gandolfini Reportedly Guzzled 8 Drinks Before Death

Breaking News

James Gandolfini reportedly gorged himself on fried food, foie gras and booze just before he died of a heart attack.

Gandolfini downed at least 8 drinks at the restaurant in the hotel where he died -- 4 shots of rum, 2 pina coladas and 2 beers -- this according to the New York Post.

The "Sopranos" star also feasted on fried prawns covered in mayo and chili sauce and foie gras, according to the paper.

On Tuesday -- the night before he died -- we're told Gandolfini dined at another restaurant and downed at least one glass of wine (Photo above).

Gandolfini struggled with alcohol and drug addiction.

Interestingly ... the doctor who runs the ER put out a statement Thursday that there was no evidence of alcohol in his system, but based on the report something is clearly off.

James Gandolfini Family Blindsided No Health Issues Suspected

EXCLUSIVE

Aside from his weight, James Gandolfini didn't have ANY underlying health problems before his death ... at least that his family was aware of, TMZ has learned.

Sources extremely close to Gandolfini's family tell us, the "Sopranos" actor never once mentioned that he was suffering from heart or other health issues -- and by all appearances, he was in near-perfect condition.

Gandolfini has admitted to having problems with cocaine and alcohol in the past -- and obviously struggled with his weight -- but we're told the family was utterly blindsided by his sudden death.

As we reported, Gandolfini passed away Wednesday from an apparent heart attack while vacationing in Italy. He was 51.

James Gandolfini Thanks Boss ... For the Good Times

TMZ TV

James Gandolfini wasn't just a great actor, he was an awesome guy ... often when our cameras were rolling. So, we put together our coolest moments with "The Sopranos" star -- topped off with a kickass eulogy from Michelle Rodriguez.

Bada bing, boss ... Bada bing.