Diet Drug Maker Sues TV Mobster

Joseph Gannascoli from the "Sopranos" poses at a signing of his new book "A Meal To Die For" at Wall Street Borders Books on March 24, 2006 in New York City. GETTY/Clarence Elie-Rivera

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.
  • Amy Bonawitz