The Sopranos has been called the greatest television show of all time by many critics and fans. It was a thrilling look at the modern world of organized crime and gave us one of the most fascinating television protagonists with Tony Soprano. Of course, the show was filled with plenty of other memorable characters.
However, looking back at the show years later, fans might be surprised to see some of the less memorable and smaller roles in the show were played by familiar faces. Some were character actors working one of many jobs, others were future stars just starting out, but they prove there were more famous actors appearing on The Sopranos than fans might remember.
Robert Patrick is one of those instantly recognizable actors who has shown up in so many projects. He is best known for his role as the very scary T-1000 in Terminator 2, but he has also appeared on countless shows over the years.
One of his many guest-starring roles was as Davey Scantino in three episodes of the show’s second season. Davey is a childhood friend of Tony whose gambling addiction leads him to become indebted to Tony and ends up ruining his life.
Michael B. Jordan
Michael B. Jordan seemed to get people’s attention for the first time with his role as Wallace on another acclaimed HBO drama, The Wire. Even before that young role, Jordan appeared in a small part during the first season of the show.
During one of the rare looks at Tony Sopranos’ past, the episode flashes back to his days as a young kid. Jordan appears during these flashbacks as another young kid who tries to hassle Tony. That makes him one of the few characters who challenged Tony and lived to tell the tale.
Will Arnett is mostly known for his comedic roles, such as Gob in Arrested Development or Batman in The Lego Movie. However, he played it straight for this small part as an FBI agent in The Sopranos.
Arnett appears briefly in two episodes in season 4 as the husband of the FBI agent who tries to turn Adriana into an informant. It is a small role in a storyline that became one of the most memorable of the entire series.
Just this year, Cristin Milioti appeared in Palm Springs. However, she has made quite a career out of appearing in many popular shows from How I Met Your Mother to Fargo to Black Mirror.
One of her first television roles was in The Sopranos where she played Catherine Sacrimoni, the daughter of mob boss Johnny Sacks. Though this early appearance wasn’t too substantial, it did score Milioti three episodes in the show’s final season.
Bokeem Woodbine is a hard-working character actor who has appeared in a wide variety of movies and shows throughout the years. In recent years, he had a scene-stealing role in the second season of Fargo and played the villainous Shocker in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Woodbine’s charisma and intensity served him well with his role in the first season of The Sopranos. Woodbine plays a rapper known as Massive Genius who claims to want to help Adriana with a music career but seems to have other things in mind as well.
Michael Kenneth Williams
Michael Kenneth Williams is another veteran of The Wire, having played the beloved character of Omar Little to great acclaim. But just a year before joining that HBO show, Williams gave a hint at his incredible talent with a small role in season 3 of The Sopranos.
Williams plays Ray Ray, a man who helps Jackie Aprile Jr. hide out as Tony seeks to whack him. In a couple of small scenes, Williams really stands out and it’s not hard to see why HBO kept him in mind when it came time to cast Omar.
Paul Dano might not be a household name, but he is an acclaimed character actor who has appeared in such movies as Little Miss Sunshine and There Will Be Blood. He will also next be seen as The Riddler in The Batman.
Given his immense talent, it’s not surprising that Dano landed a role on The Sopranos. Dano played Patrick, one of AJ’s friends who questions him about his father’s links to organized crime.
Jon Favreau is one of a handful of famous faces who have appeared on The Sopranos as themselves. Before the days of his big-budget filmmaking with projects like Iron Man and The Mandalorian, Favreau appeared as himself making a crime movie.
With Christopher Moltisanti’s dreams of being a Hollywood writer, he jumps at the chance to visit the set of the movie and meets Favreau. The director is impressed with Christopher’s inside knowledge of the mob world and ends up stealing one of Christopher’s stories for the movie.
One of the more shocking appearances in the show was an appearance from a very young Lady Gaga, many years before she gained fame for her music.
In a season 3 episode, Gaga can be seen as one of Anthony Jr’s friend with whom he sneaks into the high school pool and vandalizes. Even Gaga’s biggest fans might have trouble recognizing her as she flashes across the screen for only a brief moment, but it is a very interesting early role nonetheless.
Given how talented Lin-Manuel Miranda proved himself to be in the ground-breaking Broadway hit Hamilton, it is strange to see him pop up in such a tiny role in an episode of The Sopranos. However, it is impressive that his first-ever television role was on one of the most acclaimed shows of all time.
Miranda has the honor of appearing in an episode in the final season of the show. He pops up as a bellhop at a hotel who provides no help to Tony and Paulie when they ask him some questions. Though short, Miranda’s delivery of his lines is quite funny.