Steven R. Schirripa

Steven R. Schirripa

Born in the Bensonhurst neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY, Schirripa grew up in a classic Italian home while earning his degree from Brooklyn College. Upon graduation, he moved to Las Vegas, NV where he made a living as an entertainment director for the Riviera Hotel, a job that in some ways foreshadowed his future roles on screen. Because of his connection to various stage comedians, many of whom filmed cable specials, Schirripa began landing uncredited bit parts in a variety of screen projects and soon made his film debut as the unfortunate bar denizen Joe Pesci viciously stabs with a pen in Martin Scorsese's "Casino" (1995). His brief but memorable appearance on screen convinced Schirripa to pursue acting as a career. From there, played heavies, bodyguards and security personnel in features like "Denial" (1998) and "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" (1998). He also appeared on television in bit parts for shows like "Chicago Hope" (CBS, 1994-2000), "The King of Queens" (1998-2007) and "Angel" (Fox, 1999-2004). Though he had dipped his toe in the acting pool, the cautious Schirripa continued working at the Riviera. Meanwhile, as he was back in his native New York for a wedding, Schirripa took a chance and auditioned for "The Sopranos" (HBO, 1999-07), David Chase's award-winning drama about a Mafia boss (James Gandolfini) struggling to balance his home life with running a criminal organization. In 2000, he landed the role of Bobby 'Bacala' Baccalieri, a dense underboss and brother-in-law to Gandolfini's Tony Soprano. Initially a comic foil, the show's writers tapped into Schirripa's inherently likable qualities and built Bobby into the most loyal and sensitive member of the Soprano crew, a man unafraid of getting his hands dirty but who was also a gentle soul, easily wounded by words. His Bobby sought nothing more than approval from Tony and especially Junior Soprano (Dominic Chianese), for whom he served as right hand man and wet nurse. Toward the end of the show's run, Schirripa was able to show off his acting chops as Bobby suffered a series of immeasurable losses, which he handled with skill and subtlety.While he maintained his role on "The Sopranos," Schirripa also made appearances in films like "Joe Dirt" (2001), "High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story" (2003), and the romantic comedy "Must Love Dogs" (2005) starring Diane Lane and John Cusack. He also landed guest spots on television with more frequency, logging episodes of "George Lopez" (ABC, 2002-07), "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (NBC, 1999-), "Star Trek: Enterprise" (UPN, 2001-05) and "Ugly Betty" (ABC, 2006-2010). As his popularity and status grew on "The Sopranos," Schirripa began landing more substantial parts outside that particular universe while contributing humorous film reviews to "The Showbiz Show with David Spade" (Comedy Central, 2005-07) and serving as special correspondent Steve the Judgmental Bastard on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" (NBC, 1992-2009; 2010-). He also turned to game shows with guest appearances on "Million Dollar Password" (CBS, 2008-09) and yet another version of "Pyramid," while authoring books like the best-selling A Goomba's Guide to Life (2002) and the children's book, Nicky Deuce: Welcome to the Family (2005). In 2007, after seven years on "The Sopranos," Schirripa's Bobby Baccalieri was killed in an assassination plot hatched by the rival Lupertazzi and DiMeo crime families, going out in a hail of bullets while shopping at a model train store. The following year, he began a recurring role as Leo Boykevich, the widowed father of Ben (Kenny Baumann) on "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" (ABC Family, 2008-13). From there, Schirripa appeared alongside "Sopranos" actor Frank Vincent for an episode of "Stargate Atlantis" (Syfy, 2004-09), was a co-host with Kathy Lee Gifford on "The Today Show" (NBC, 1952-), and served as the host for the poker-themed game show "Face the Ace" (NBC, 2009-2010). He went on to host the true crime docudrama series, "Nothing Personal" (2011-12), which was produced in Canada and the U.K., which focused on the various motives involved in a number of real-life murders.By Shawn Dwyer


Guest Appearances