Steve Schirripa is a well-known American actor, producer and author. He started his career as the Entertainment Director at a hotel in Las Vegas and while doing so, he began to have cameo appearance in comedy specials by well-known comedians, which developed in him a love for acting. Around the age of 38, he debuted in films, appearing in an uncredited role in ‘Casino’. Thereafter, he continued to appear in small roles in numerous films and television productions, concurrently maintaining his job at the hotel. Around the age of forty-two, he got his first break when he was chosen to play Robert (Bobby) Baccalieri Jr. in ‘The Sopranos’, a popular crime drama television series that ran for six seasons. Later he was Leo Boykewich in 'The Secret Life of the American Teenager' and Detective Anthony Abetemarco on ‘Blue Bloods’. Apart from acting, he has also produced and hosted two television series; ‘Karma's A B*tch!’ and ‘Nothing Personal’. He is also the author of six books, one of which had been adapted into a film.
Childhood & Early Life
Steven Ralph Schirripa was born September 3, 1957 in Bensonhurst, a residential neighborhood located in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, USA. His father, Ralph Schirripa, a second generation Italian-American, was a bookmaker, having several brushes with the law. His mother, Lorraine Schirripa (née Bernstein) was of Jewish descent.
Schirripa has four siblings; three sisters by the name of Donna O’Dea, Diane Costello, and Doreen Schirripa-Masella and a brother called Richard Schirripa. Raised as a Roman Catholic in a low income household, he had his schooling at Lafayette High School, eventually graduating from Brooklyn College, both located in Brooklyn.
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In 1980, Steven Ralph Schirripa moved to Las Vegas, where he started working as the Entertainment Director at the Riviera Hotel and Casino. Eventually, he began to work with comedians like Bruce Baum, Drew Carey and Kevin Pollak, making cameo appearances in their comedy specials.
His work with noted comedians soon led to episodic works on small screen. Finally in 1995, he debuted on big screen with an uncredited role of a man at the bar in ‘Casino’. It was followed in 1997 by ‘Highway to Vegas’, in which he appeared as a body guard.
His acting career started blossoming from 1998. In that year, he appeared in two films; ‘Denial’, and ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’; a medical drama television series, called 'Chicago Hope' and a mocumentary called ' Welcome to Hollywood'. In the last mentioned project he appeared in a cameo role.
In 1999, concurrently with working as entertainment director of the Riviera Hotel, he appeared in eight projects, among which six were films and two were television series. Although none of these roles left any lasting impression he continued to act simply because he enjoyed it.
In early 1999, while on a personal visit to New York, Steve Schirripa contacted his agent and auditioned for a role of a FBI agent. Although he did not get the role, the lady he was dealing with handed over another script and asked him to read it.
He returned to the studio a week later and got the role that made him a household name. Initially, he was reluctant to accept it because it involved traveling to and from Las Vegas. But as his wife continued to insist, he had to relent.
On January 23, 2000, he first appeared in ‘The Sopranos’, a popular crime-drama television series that ran for six seasons on HBO. At first, his character, Robert (Bobby) Baccalieri Jr., was one of the soldiers of the crime boss, Corrado John "Junior" Soprano Jr.
As his character was very fat, he initially had to wear a fat suit. But as years rolled by, his character became smarter and his role became bigger, enhancing his popularity.
Since 2015, he has been appearing as Detective Anthony Abetemarco in 'Blue Bloods', a police procedural drama television series, currently being aired on CBS. Concurrently, he is working on other projects, significant among them being ‘Wonder Wheel’ (2017).
Along with acting, he has also appeared in numerous talk and game shows. They include ‘Million Dollar Password’ (2008), ‘Face the Ace’ (2009) , 'The Eric André Show' (2016), ' Last Week Tonight' (2017), 'The Untitled Action Bronson Show ' (2017), ‘Pyramid’ (2019) etc.
Steve Schirripa is best known for his role of Bobby Baccalieri in ‘The Sopranos’. Appearing first as a soldier and then as the top aides to Corrado "Junior" Soprano, he became so popular that even after so many years, people on the street keep calling him by his character’s name.
Awards & Achievements
In 2004, Steve Schirripa won the Best Supporting Actor Award (short film category) for his role in ‘What Are the Odds’ in the New York Independent Film Festival.
In 2008, he co-won the Screen Actors Guild Award in the Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series category for his work in ‘The Sopranos’.
Family & Personal Life
On April 22, 1989, Steve Schirripa married Laura Lemos, with whom he has two daughters, Bria and Ciara. They currently live in New York City, USA.
He is currently involved with charity works and supports charity organizations like Keep Memory Alive, Live SunSmart Foundation, Garden of Dreams etc.
Although raised as a Roman Catholic, Steve Schirripa also identifies himself as being Jewish because his mother was one. In an interview, he had once said, “I had the best of both worlds”.