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Diet pill manufacturer sues ‘Sopranos’ actor

Joseph Gannascoli claims company didn't like character's gay lifestyle
Joseph R. Gannascoli
Joseph R. Gannascoli listens as he is interviewed at his home in East Rockaway, New York, Friday, March 31, 2006. Gannascoli plays Vito Spatafore on the HBO series \"The Sopranos.\" (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)Tina Fineberg / AP file
/ Source: The Associated Press

Joseph R. Gannascoli, who played a closeted gay mobster on HBO’s “The Sopranos,” is being sued by the manufacturer of a diet drug.

The maker of Stacker 2 filed a lawsuit Thursday claiming Gannascoli hasn’t been doing enough to promote the product after receiving about $316,000 from the company over the last 2½ years.

“He was very difficult to work with all the time,” Robert Occhifinto, president of Sussex County-based dietary supplement maker NVE Pharmaceuticals, told The Star-Ledger of Newark for Friday’s newspapers.

Gannascoli, 47, disputed the company’s claim, which came after a tough few episodes for his character, Vito Spatafore, who was beaten to death after his secret homosexual life was discovered.

“I begged them to do things but they wouldn’t,” he told the newspaper. “They didn’t like I was doing the gay thing” in his TV role.

Last month, Gannascoli signed with another company to endorse a competing diet pill.