'The Sopranos' star Robert Iler says Tony Sirico protected him on set
Robert Iler shared a heartwarming memory of the late Tony Sirico during a recent podcast episode.
According to Iler, his "Sopranos" costar offered the young actor his protection on set and off.
"If anyone ever bothers you... you tell Uncle Tony, okay?" Iler recalled Sirico telling him.
"The Sopranos" star Robert Iler shared a sweet memory about his late costar Tony Sirico during a recent podcast episode.
According to Iler, who played Tony Soprano's son AJ on all six seasons of the hit HBO show, he was never worried about being preyed on or bullied on set.
"I'm like, you think Tony Sirico was standing around, if there were people eyeing me the wrong way, like 'Oh, Rob looks really cute today,' Tony Sirico is just gonna stand there and not do anything?" Iler recalled on a recent episode of "Pod Yourself a Gun," a "Sopranos" rewatch podcast.
The actor, who was just 14 when he starred in the critically-acclaimed drama, said that Sirico even pulled him aside one day to let Iler know he was looking out for the young star.
"Hey, uh, if anyone ever… bothers you, or anybody says anything, you tell Uncle Tony, okay?" Iler recalled Sirico telling him.
Sirico's words apparently gave Iler confidence off set as well, especially while dealing with other kids at school. Iler told podcasts hosts Matt Lieb and Vince Mancini that he remembered thinking, "Oh, this kid thinks he's gonna mouth off to me? I'll have Tony Sirico come down."
"No matter how old you are, you see somebody that has like black hair here, and silver hair on the sides — and just the way he always had a handkerchief in his pocket... you go like, this dude will fuck you up," Iler added.
Sirico played the charismatic and neurotic gangster Paulie "Walnuts" Gualtieri on "The Sopranos" for all six seasons. The 79-year-old actor died Friday, and was honored posthumously on social media by numerous costars.
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