Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Holiday Tragedy for "The Sopranos"

The Brooklyn actor who played Johnny Cakes - the gay-fireman lover of a mob capo on "The Sopranos" - killed himself in a holiday tragedy that has stunned family and friends.

From today's New York Post,

Costelloe, a former FDNY firefighter, shot himself in the head in his basement bedroom on Dec. 16, cops and pals said.

Costelloe had a crucial four-episode arc on "The Sopranos" in 2006, playing short-order cook Jim "Johnny Cakes" Witowski.

In the hit HBO series, actor Joseph Gannascoli - a longtime friend of Costelloe's - played mobster and closeted homosexual Vito Spatafore, who fled New Jersey after he was outed.

While on the run in New Hampshire, Vito met Witowski, whose specialty was Johnny cakes, a cornmeal pancake. "Sopranos" writers seemed to take a page from Costelloe's firefighting past and included it in the storyline.

In the show, Vito became attracted to Johnny Cakes once he learned the short-order cook was a volunteer firefighter, before being whacked by his homophobic rivals.

"I was shocked when I heard, and it still hasn't really sunk in," Gannascoli told the Post. "I never detected anything troubling about him. I enjoyed all the time I ever spent with him."

In real life, Costelloe worked 11 years at Ladder Cos. 109 and 110 in Brooklyn before retiring in 1998.

I love "The Sopranos", and my sympathies and prayers are with Mr. Costelloe's family. I don't think there is anyone who is reading this who hasn't been tempted to go into that Good Night- I know I have attempted- and every suicide is a tragedy- yet I cannot help but thinking, if he had just reached out to those that love us, he would still be with us.

Please, if you are reading this and you are suicidal, there are references on the side bar of sites to go and numbers to call. YOu are not alone. The feeling will pass, I promise you it does.



Ana said...

Harold Pinter died yesterday. It was cancer.
I hope they RIP.

susan said...

Hi Ana,

And Eartha Kitt died this afternoon. Wow. So much talent.....

Surgeon In My Dreams said...

Bless his heart - and his families heart.

May God bless all of us who struggle with the beast called depresion.

AlisonHymes said...

Don't recommend the suicide hotline. they suck. they put you through to regional crisis line, one hung up, when they answered they were totally useless and hung up saying they had another call and they hoped everything worked out after I said it wouldn't, kept repeating it. One time before years ago I called them and they also sucked, made me more suicidal. they are NOT helpful, they could drive a person on the edge of suicide to suicide.

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