Famous Oz Fan Suprises Fontana
The Buffalo News
July 7, 1999
Fontana realizes that his provocative HBO prison series "Oz" (which
returns in a week with original episodes) isn't for everyone.
Recently, he was surprised to learn that one of the world's most
famous musicians is a fan.
It seems that Lee Tergesen, who plays perpetually abused inmate
Tobias Beecher, was at a recital for the musician responsible for
some of the music connected to "Oz."
In the audience was famed violinist Itzhak Perlman, who sought out
"Itzhak Perlman comes up to him and says, 'This is my favorite show
on television,' " said Fontana. "Do you believe that?"
Now, there's a promo for HBO. Take it from Itzhak, "Oz" is
Fontana is a big fan of HBO's most critically praised drama, "The
Sopranos," about a midlevel mobster who goes into therapy. But as an
Italian, Fontana admits having some reservations and talked about
it. As does actor Chazz Palminteri, who is directing an episode of
"Oz" this season.
"We got in a discussion about it because they had actually offered
Chazz the part (of Tony Soprano) a couple of years ago," said
Fontana. "We did talk about the fact it's the thing that he and I
have fought all of our lives against, that kind of 'These are a
bunch of stupid dagos' thing.
"But that would be like getting into this nonsense about (the Fox
series) ' The PJs,' " said Fontana, who resisted the idea of
complaining that "you can't do that."
"Especially me," said Fontana. "Am I ever going to say to somebody
else, 'You can't do that'?"
It would be kind of hard considering what airs on "Oz."
Lorraine Bracco, who plays the therapist on "The Sopranos," is an
Italian who was nominated years ago as Best Supporting Actress for
playing a mobster's wife in "Goodfellas." She dismisses the
complaints about "Sopranos."
"The truth is, it's about organized crime and it comes in all kind
of colors, nationalities, whatever. David Chase could have written
it about anybody -- Russians, the Chinese, the Japanese, Irish. It
could have been anything. That's what he chose. It is not a true
story like Henry Hill in 'Goodfellas.' They couldn't complain about
anything (back) then."
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