A(nother) Real-life Wiseguy Played a Mobster on The Sopranos

John (Cha Cha) Ciarcia, who played a brief but pivotal role on The Sopranos as the consiglieri of the New York-based Lupertazzi crime family, was a Genovese crime family associate in real life.

He allegedly "was involved in everything" regarding the San Gennaro feast, a Genovese capo reputedly told an undercover FBI agent.

Whether he was a former or active associate is open to interpretation, but it's suggested that he was active up until his death at age 75 of natural causes.
James Gandolfini, RIP......
This story, simple as it is, is unbelievable -- and maybe a decade or two ago, it would have been inconceivable, incomprehensible -- but it's true...

That makes two, so far. Tony Sirico, who played Peter Paul (Paulie Walnuts) Gualtieri, was once a Colombo crime family associate. Some mention Tony Darrow. The one and only... He was allegedly a Gambino associate, but he apparently got hooked up with a mob family after his Sopranos stint (or during) as Larry Boy Borgese. 

For those wondering, in December 2011, Anthony Borgese, aka Tony Darrow, got slammed in Brooklyn federal court when U.S. District Judge Eric N. Vitaliano sentenced the actor-cum-mobster to two years’ probation, six months’ house arrest, 250 hours of community service and a $7,500 fine. He  could have gotten up to 40 months in jail.

Borgese, a former Catskills lounge singer turned actor, made a nice living playing mobsters in films and on TV. But then he went and got himself mixed up with some real mobsters who committed a violent felony while collecting a debt for the would-be Don Borgese.

Larry Boy.

In 2009 Borgese was indicted for the crime, when he seems to have lost both the script and the plot by getting himself involved, for some reason, with Gambino soldier Joseph "Joey Boy" Orlando to shake down a Monticello. N.Y., man for $5,000.

As for Sopranos alumni who died, Cha Cha has stellar company. He joins James Gandolfini, an actor of truly staggering talent (consider True Romance, The Drop) and, unfortunately, epic appetite.

Ciarcia, a high-profile New York personality known as the “unofficial mayor of Little Italy," also owned a popular Italian restaurant in that part of Manhattan with quite a mouthful for a name: Cha Cha's In Bocca Al Lupo Café.

As per sources, the undercover agent who infiltrated the Genovese crime family in last year's seemingly massive racketeering indictment (and "Jeff" was his name-o) gave $1,000 "tributes" to Genovese capo Eugene (Rooster) O'Nofrio, "exchanged Christmas presents with him, and identified many wiseguys Rooster met with over the years. He also attended the 2015 wake of John (Cha Cha) Ciarcia, a legendary Mulberry Street figure known as the "Mayor of Little Italy." The agent also tape recorded O'Nofrio identifying Ciarcia as a Genovese family associate."

GLN sources revealed that O'Nofrio was tape recorded telling "Jeff" that Ciarcia, whose Mulberry Street café is on the route of the annual religious procession of the statue of San Gennaro at the feast, "was involved in everything with the feast" and that Cha Cha's death would enable him to assume control of the feast."

"Ciarcia has never been implicated in any wrongdoing in connection with the feast, which authorities insist is no longer controlled by the Genovese crime family, as it allegedly was for the first 70 years of its existence," as GLN reported.

(Been pondering topics for a mission statement I'm drafting and will publish here soon. One of my decisions is to stop  building stories off Jerry Capeci's information, in fairness to him. By mission statement, I refer to this blog's newsgathering goals, and strategies, etc., why I'm here and what exactly am I trying to do.)

John (Cha Cha) Ciarcia, RIP

Ciarcia’s acting career also included film appearances with long-time friend Danny DeVito in Hoffa and Death to Smoochy, in addition to his guest role on HBO’s The Sopranos.

Ciarcia was Tony Danza’s boxing manager back in the day and was DeVito’s best man at his 1982 wedding to Rhea Perlman. He died Nov. 21 at NYU Langone Medical Center following a brief illness, according to a family announcement.

The actor, who appeared in the iconic Mafia film Goodfellas in 1990, played Albie Cianflone on HBO's The Sopranos from 2006 to 2007. 

In the fictional world of the Sopranos, Albert "Albie" Cianflone, was consigliere to Phil Leotardo (Frank Vincent, of Goodfellas, Casino, etc.), boss of one of New York's (fictional) Five Families, which the Soprano crime family answered to (or was it the DeMeo crime family?)

Fed up with Tony's tough guy posturing (and maybe wondering if he was a fool for spending decades inside a prison cell), yearning for an idyllic version of the mob (and a world where Leotardo is a thoughtless corruption of Leonardo, meaning something, and brother Billy still lives), Leotardo hatches a scheme that sounds like it arrived fresh from a script writer's muse. Kill em all.... Tony Soprano and his top guys.

It's actually nonfiction. Well, it has precedent, anyway.

Cut to:

Manhattan, a Little Italy social club. A bunch of wiseguys stand by the bar while boss Phil Leotardo holds court away from the rank and file at a table with consig Albie and underboss Butch DeConcini (played by Greg Antonacci).

Phil stirs a cup of espresso, taps the cup with the little spoon.


Listen, I've made a decision. Take a walk in there. What the fck you waiting for? Get lost. Historically, Carmine always said the Sopranos are nothing more than a glorified crew. Plain and simple, we decapitate And we do business with whatever's left. What?

Nothing. I agree in spirit, but I gotta counsel.

This thing should have been done during John's era.

They got redundant upper management-- Bleeds off half the kick. We take 'em out, absorb the whole fucking thing.

Take out an entire fucking family?

Let me tell you a couple or three things: Forget Coco. Forget Fat Dom, who goes over to Jersey and never comes back. Forget my brother Billy.

Phil, Phil, that's not what I'm saying at all.

Anthony Soprano has no respect for this thing. He's never been in the can, not really. He's a guy who stepped over his own uncle to grab the big seat-- His father's brother.

Please, huh?

I'm embarrassed. I let him come to the hospital last Christmas And I took his fat fcking hand in friendship.

Philly, you had a heart attack.

Listen to me. They make anybody and everybody over there. And the way that they do it is all fucked up. Guys don't get their finger pricked. There's no sword and gun on the table.


No, Alb. Either it has meaning or no meaning. And the Vito thing-- the man harbors a faggot. Five fucking families And we got this other pygmy thing over in Jersey. There's no scraps in my scrapbook. Make it happen.

Five fucking families And we got this other pygmy thing over in Jersey.
There's no scraps in my scrapbook.
Make it happen.

Read more: http://www.springfieldspringfield.co.uk/view_episode_scripts.php?tv-show=the-sopranos&episode=s06e20
- it's true.
- Five fucking families And we got this other pygmy thing over in Jersey.
There's no scraps in my scrapbook.
Make it happen.

Read more: http://www.springfieldspringfield.co.uk/view_episode_scripts.php?tv-show=the-sopranos&episode=s06e20
And the Vito thing-- the man harbors a faggot.
- it's true.
- Five fucking families And we got this other pygmy thing over in Jersey.
There's no scraps in my scrapbook.
Make it happen.

Read more: http://www.springfieldspringfield.co.uk/view_episode_scripts.php?tv-show=the-sopranos&episode=s06e20
No scraps? Alb and Butch were as confused as we were by that line....


The scene was part of The Blue Comet episode, which was actually the 85th and penultimate episode of the HBO television series The Sopranos.  (You can read all kinds of interesting stuff  about the Blue Comet here ). 

Watch the riveting scene below:

Former Luchese crime family underboss Anthony (Gaspipe) Casso wanted to "take out a whole fcking family," specifically, the New Jersey crews of the Lucheses, (okay not exactly a whole family but almost).

On July 29, 1991, Luchese boss -- apparently he still holds the title today -- Vittorio (Vic) Amuso was arrested, which paved the way for Casso to be the street boss.

By then, both Luchese bosses had been on the lam, using street boss Al (Little Al) D'Arco to run things from afar. 

Casso evaded law enforcement for three years, running the crime family all the while via intermediaries. He allegedly ordered 11 mob slayings, in addition to plotting with Genovese boss Vincent (Chin) Gigante to murder John Gotti.

Toward the end of 1993, interestingly, Casso used Brooklyn faction chiefs George Zappola, Frank (Bones) Papagni and consigliere Frank (Big Frank) Lastortino to kill Stephen (Stevie Wonder) Crea. However, before any strike could take place against the Bronx faction boss, all members of the plot were incarcerated on various charges. Casso himself was finally nabbed, at a mistress's home in Mount Olive, New Jersey, on January 19, 1993.

So much for growing a mustache and trying to lam it....

As for Phil's criticism of the New Jersey family's failure to follow certain rituals, similar charges were actually levied against Simone (Sam the Plumber) DeCavalcante, boss of New Jersey's only homegrown Mafia clan, which many (mistakenly) believe inspired the Sopranos. DeCavalcante did away with the gun and the knife, as did former Bonanno boss Joe Massino, much later, in the 1990s.

John Riggi however brought the symbolic weapons back after ascending to power.

READ: Sopranos Based on Which Crime Family? Not DeCavalcantes...


  1. He wasn't a gangster!!

    1. He was an associate of The Genovese family as per Jerry Capeci.

    2. If you'd like to email me privately please contact me at cosanostranews@gmail dotcom

  2. Don't forget Tony darrow, or at least he thought he was lcn :-p

    Gavin UK (forgot login)

  3. Man this article is all over the place!!


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