‘Disturbing’ call to James Gandolfini created classic ‘Sopranos’ line

New York Post

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Bada ring!

One of the most iconic “The Sopranos” lines — “‘A don never wears shorts” — allegedly came from a spooky, mysterious phone call that was anonymously made to series star James Gandolfini, an exchange that noticeably “disturbed” the late New Jersey actor.

Michael Imperioli detailed the frightening moment in his new book, “Woke Up This Morning” (co-written by Steve Schirripa), and described the call as so scary that it would leave even the toughest mafioso trembling.

“The story goes like this: Gandolfini got a call in the middle of the night on his cell phone, it was an unknown number,” Imperioli said in the oral history. “He answers the phone, ‘Hello,’ and the guy on the other line says, ‘Hello,’ and then nobody’s talking.

“The guy doesn’t identify himself,” Imperioli continued. “Guy finally says, ‘Listen, you’re a great actor, we like what you’re doing, but you got to know one thing: ‘A don never wears shorts.’

“And click, the guy hung up.”

Nevertheless, creator David Chase and the show’s crew found a way to work the phantom recommendation into “The Sopranos.”

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Fellow crime-family boss Carmine Lupertazzi Sr. (played by Tony Lip) passed this advice on to Gandolfini’s Tony Soprano in the Season 4 premiere episode, “For All Debts Public and Private,” in which he declared, “John said he went to a cookout at your house. A don doesn’t wear shorts.”