Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Character Frankie Valli Almost Played On The Sopranos

The Sopranos, David Chase's celebrated drama that helped establish HBO as a destination for cinema-quality serialized storytelling, sat in a weird space in pop culture. On the one hand, the show was a critical success from the moment it premiered, earning 16 Emmy nominations in its first season. On the other hand, its identity as a prestige drama kept it from reaching a bigger audience, which was already limited to the 25 million homes HBO reached in 1999, according to The New York Times.

However, The Sopranos was a hit, and stars wanted to appear on the show as much as audiences wanted to see them on it. As a result, there were a large number of celebrities who appeared as themselves on The Sopranos. One of the key ways that well-known individuals would appear on the series was through the Executive Game, a poker game that pits mobsters against the very rich and the very famous, such as musicians like Frank Sinatra Jr. and David Lee Roth. Other times, the show's characters had Hollywood ambitions that drew celebrities into their orbit. For example, Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli) met Sir Ben Kingsley and Jon Favreau while trying to get his mafia slasher film Cleaver made.

If a celebrity had the acting chops and could believably play a part inĀ The Sopranos world, however, Chase was willing to consider adding them to the cast. One New Jersey legend, Frankie Valli, appeared as the recurring character Rusty Millio in seasons 5 and 6 of The Sopranos, although it wasn't the first part he was considered for. Here is the character he almost played on The Sopranos.

Frankie Valli almost appeared as Beansie in the first seasons of The Sopranos

Celebrated singer Frankie Valli joined Michael Imperioli and Steve Schirripa, who played Bobby Baccalieri, on their podcast, Talking Sopranos, to discuss his history on the show. The Four Seasons frontman explained that he was interested in doing the series soon after it premiered. Schrirripa then described David Chase as a "huge fan" of Valli, which led to the singer coming in for an audition for the character of Beansie Gaeta.

That audition didn't work out, with Valli commenting that Chase may have felt that Beansie's constant use of profanity was not a good match for his persona and brand. However, Valli's audition did make an impression on Chase, who told the singer that he would find the right part for him, even if he had to write it into the show. The musician recalled that he thought the showrunner was "just being nice to me, and I went away, and that was okay. And then, I got a call, about a year and a half later, and they sent me some stuff to read and learn, and the day that I was leaving, they called and said they weren't going to use that character."

Valli said he was heartbroken that his second chanceĀ to appear on The Sopranos didn't work out, but the show wasn't over yet. As Today reported in 2004, he finally found his way on the series in its fifth season, appearing as Rusty Millio, a high-ranking member of the New York mafia. Rusty even made it until the end of the first half of the second season, though like many other characters, he ultimately met an untimely end.