The first installment of the Hardcore Italian blog series, “Breaking Bread,” is proud to welcome its first guest, Ray Abruzzo. Ray is best known for his role in the legendary television series, The Sopranos, as “Little” Carmine Lupertazzi.
This interview is special to me because Ray and I grew up in the same hometown. We are both from Middle Village, New York. Middle Village is a heavily populated Italian area in Queens, so naturally, there was plenty to discuss.
The purpose of this blog series is meant to introduce the Hardcore Italians’ audience to notable and upcoming members of the Italian American community. Specifically, our goal is to dive into the Italian heritage of the guests and explain the impact Italian culture had on their lives.
The interview began with Ray discussing his family’s roots in Italy and his childhood in Queens, New York.
In a touching moment, Ray expressed the need for Italian Americans, or any enthic group, to explore their own roots by visiting the country of their ancestors. He went on to describe a time when he made a pilgrimage to his families town of Sciacca in the province of Agrigento, Sicily.
The conversation evolved into the sacrifice Ray’s father made in order for him to be able to have the life that he currently has. He specifically mentions how lucky he was to be born in the situation he was in, compared to the hardship his father faced. This exemplifies the sacrifice all Italian immigrants made for the future of their families in America.
Being a proud Italian American, Ray strived to serve as a model for the Italian American community. His first big break was a stint on the show, L.A. Law, in a role that played on Italian stereotypes which were eventually debunked.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a proper interview with Ray Abruzzo if we didn’t touch on the time he spent on the set during The Sopranos. Ray had an interesting take on what his role as “Little” Carmine Lupertazzi brought to his career.
There was no way I could let the interview end without asking Ray about his thoughts on the trailer for The Many Saints of Newark.