Lady Gaga, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Michael B. Jordan & More Stars You Never Knew Were in The Sopranos

Iconic Emmy-winning HBO drama The Sopranos launched the careers of stars like Lady Gaga, Michael B. Jordan and Lin-Manuel Miranda over its six seasons. See all the celeb cameos here.

By Samantha Bergeson Oct 01, 2021 8:00 PMTags
Watch: "Sopranos" Diner Honors James Gandolfini

A-list talent? Over here!

When existential mob family drama The Sopranos premiered in 1999, it arguably redefined HBO and the TV landscape as a whole, with James Gandolfini starring as patriarch Tony Soprano, who tries to balance his responsibilities to blood relatives along with the pressures of being part of one of the Five Families.

Edie Falco, Jamie Lynn Sigler and Robert Iler made up the New Jersey suburban Soprano family, while Michael ImperioliTony SiricoSteven Van ZandtVincent PastoreSteve Schirripa and Joe Pantoliano rounded out Tony's mob crew. And then there was Tony's sister (Aida Turturro) and cousin (Steve Buscemi), along with his uncle Junior (Dominic Chianese) and mother (Nancy Marchand), who only added to the stress of Tony's daily life—leading to regular sessions with his therapist, Dr. Melfi (Lorraine Bracco). 

The truly ensemble cast won 21 Emmy Awards, five Golden Globe Awards and one Peabody Award across its six seasons, concluding in 2007. And so it's almost easy to forget that throughout its eight years on-air, A-listers like Annette Bening and Ben Kingsley played themselves, while then-lesser known actors like Lady Gaga, Michael B. Jordan and Michael K. Williams had bit parts.

The Sopranos: Where Are They Now?

From future Arrested Development and Scandal stars to Tony winners, showrunner David Chase curated an unprecedented amount of talent to guest star on The Sopranos.


And, that eye for casting is on full-display in Sopranos prequel The Many Saints of Newark, available to stream on HBO Max starting Oct. 1. The origin story film stars the late James Gandolfini's real-life son Michael Gandolfini in the famed role, with Jon Bernthal and Vera Farmiga playing Tony's parents and Corey Stoll taking over the role of his uncle Junior. Alessandro NivolaBilly Magnussen and Ray Liotta also star. 

In honor of the highly-anticipated film (living out every Sopranos fans' "six seasons and a movie" dreams), let's take a look back on all the celebrities that got their start on the critically-acclaimed series. 

Michael B. Jordan

Prior to his heartbreaking performance on HBO's The WireMichael B. Jordan played a childhood bully in season one. 

Lin-Manuel Miranda

Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda got his "Shot" with a cameo as a hotel bellman. 

Paul Dano

Emmy nominee Paul Dano portrayed A.J.'s friend Patrick Whalen across seasons four and five, before going on to play The Riddler in the upcoming The Batman movie.

Lady Gaga

Before she ruled the House of Gucci, Oscar winner Lady Gaga a.k.a. Stefani Germanotta wrecked havoc at a high school at age 15, alongside A.J. Soprano (Robert Iler) in an uncredited season three role. 

Will Arnett

Before The Morning Show and BoJack Horseman, comic actor Will Arnett played a FBI agent who was married to an undercover operative trying to infiltrate the Soprano crime family. 

Tony Hale

It's a mini Arrested Development reunion! Tony Hale starred as a chemotherapy nurse treating Uncle Junior (Dominic Chianese). 

Julianna Margulies

The Good Wife used to be a not-so-good mistress. Julianna Margulies played recurring season six character Julianna Skiff, who caught Tony's eye before having an affair with Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli) and becoming addicted to heroin.

Jon Favreau

Actor-director-producer Jon Favreau played himself, as Christopher tries to get him to direct his screenplay.

Michael K. Williams

The late talent Michael K. Williams played Ray Ray, a mob affiliate who lets Jackie Jr. (Jason Cerbone) hide out at his apartment. The Emmy-nominated star later went on to have a breakout role in fellow HBO series, The Wire.

Cristin Milioti

Cristin Milioti wasn't really Made For Love playing the daughter of New York's ill-fated crime boss Johnny Sack (Vincent Curatola). 

Ari Graynor

Ari Graynor stole scenes as the neurotic college student—and roommate—Meadow (Jamie Lynn Sigler) struggled to relate to.

Aasif Mandvi

Former Daily Show correspondent Aasif Mandvi was the doctor who treated Phil Leotardo (Frank Vincent) for stress-related heart pain. 


Tim Daly

Tim Daly simultaneously starred on Grey's Anatomy spin-off Private Practice while playing Christopher's screenwriter pal, J.T. Dolan. 

Chandra Wilson

Grey's Anatomy star Chandra Wilson stole a season five episode as a woman who takes on Janice (Aida Turturro) during an anger management meeting. 

Guillermo Diaz

It's a Shondaland party! Scandal star Guillermo Diaz started out as a pesticide salesman in season one. 

Katie Lowes

Diaz's Scandal co-star Katie Lowes dated A.J. during season five.

Michael Kelly

Before appearing on House of Cards, actor Michael Kelly played an FBI agent investigating Tony. 


Mike Epps

Comedian Mike Epps played a car thief who took A.J.'s science teacher's ride in a hilarious Sopranos side story. 

Cara Buono

We've heard of Stranger Things than this, but it's hard not to do a double take watching Cara Buono play Christopher's wife Kelli Lombardo in the sixth season, knowing that she truly belongs on Mad Men

Daniel Baldwin

What's Cleaver without Daniel Baldwin's spot-on performance? The Baldwin brother acted as himself in the lead role of Christopher's movie. 

Annette Bening

Like Tony, we also dream of Annette Bening...although not always as our in-law! The Oscar winner appeared in a fantasy sequence as herself-slash-the mother of Meadow's fiancé. 

Frankie Valli

It doesn't get more Jersey than the the ultimate Jersey Boy. Famed crooner Frankie Valli played mobster Rusty Millio during the fifth and sixth seasons, with his songs being used throughout the show. 

Lauren Bacall

Screen legend Lauren Bacall portrayed a sassy version of herself—who later gets mugged by Christopher—in a Los Angeles-based episode.

Wilmer Valderrama

In the same episode, filmed at the Viceroy Hotel in Santa Monica, Wilmer Valderrama has a mini cameo as himself, posing for paparazzi. 

Ben Kingsley

Also in that episode? Sir Ben Kingsley, who dodges Christopher after turning down his mob-tied movie role. 

Perez Hilton

Celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton had a subtle cameo in season three as an organizer of a college benefit concert that gets robbed by Christopher. 

Bokeem Woodbine

Bokeem Woodbine swapped North Caldwell, New Jersey for Fargo, North Dakota, but only after playing rapper Massive Genius. 

David Lee Roth

Rocker David Lee Roth played himself at a poker game set up by Tony. 

Frank Sinatra Jr.

At that same card game, Frank Sinatra Jr. placed a few bets in a recurring role. 

Nancy Sinatra

Plus, singer Nancy Sinatra serenaded Phil Leotardo after he took over as boss of New York. 

View More Photos From All the Famous Faces From The Sopranos
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