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Vince Curatola as John Sacrimoni
|First appearance||"Pax Soprana" (episode 1.06)|
|Last appearance||"Stage 5" (episode 6.14)|
|Created by||David Chase|
|Portrayed by||Vince Curatola|
|Occupation||Consultant for Essany Scaffolding/Waste Management Consultant of Cinelli Sanitation|
|Title||Underboss of the Lupertazzi crime family (Seasons 1-5); Boss of the Lupertazzi crime family (Seasons 5 & 6)|
|Spouse(s)||Ginny Sacrimoni (wife)|
|Children||Allegra Sacrimoni (daughter)
Catherine Sacrimoni (daughter)
|Relatives||Anthony Infante (brother-in-law)
Eric DeBenedetto (son-in-law)
John Sacrimoni, commonly known as Johnny Sack, is a fictional character on the HBO TV series The Sopranos, played by Vince Curatola. He was the longtime underboss and later the boss of the powerful Brooklyn-based New York City Lupertazzi crime family.
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Operating out of his Construction Company or Social Club, Johnny Sack was a major player in the New York crime family formerly led by Carmine Lupertazzi. Johnny was Carmine's underboss for many years, handling political payoffs and bid-rigging for the organization. He ultimately became boss after Carmine's death. Johnny was also a friend and contemporary of Tony Soprano. Johnny Sack worked to maintain the peace with the other families, reasoning that peace between all the families led to mutually-increased prosperity. However, Johnny Sack also had a much darker side that sometimes revealed itself during the show. Like Shakespeare's main antagonist from the play Othello, Iago, Sacrimoni is an expert Machiavellian strategist who was not above stirring up trouble in order to sow dissent and suspicion amongst the ranks of the DiMeo crime family. Johnny Sack's scheming and political manipulation escalated shortly after becoming boss; Sacrimoni shed much of his earlier rationality and aversion to violence as he ruthlessly eliminated rivals and potential threats to his power.
But while Johnny Sack usually maintained his cool (he answered his phone by saying "speak"), he was very sensitive about his wife, Ginny who was obese. Johnny became violently angry when any remarks were made about Ginny's weight. He once ordered a hit put on Ralph Cifaretto for making one such off-color joke, although he later cooled down and called it off. This saved Ralphie's life, and also, although unknown to Johnny, his own, since Tony had obtained approval from Carmine to hit Johnny in order to protect the highly valuable Esplanade project to which Ralphie's involvement was key.
Johnny cultivated a friendship with Paulie Gualtieri, making use of him as a source of information about Soprano family business. The relationship began when Paulie felt sidelined by Tony over the Esplanade construction project and proved most fruitful when Paulie was imprisoned in 2002 — a time when he felt particularly neglected by his friends. Johnny lied to Paulie — telling him that Carmine held him in high regard and often asked about him. This encouraged Paulie to place more faith in his friendship with Johnny than in the loyalty of his friends in the DiMeo crime family. Through Paulie, Johnny learned about Tony's Frelinghuysen Avenue property windfall and HUD scam — allowing the Lupertazzi crime family to demand a piece of the action because their mutual interests made both projects possible. It was also Paulie who told John about the insult that Ralphie made about his wife. However, after a chance meeting with Carmine, Paulie discovered that Carmine didn't even know who he was. Angered by John's deceit, Paulie became one of his biggest detractors.
Johnny Sack sometimes chafed under Carmine's leadership of the family, particularly over Carmine's apparent plans to name his hedonistic and catachresis-prone son Carmine Jr. (aka Little Carmine) as his successor. During the abortive war with the Soprano crew over Tony's Frelinghuysen Avenue operation, he authorized Tony to arrange to have Carmine assassinated. Much to Johnny's chagrin, Tony accepted Carmine's offer of settlement and canceled the hit.
After Carmine died of a stroke in 2004, Johnny's crew engaged in a bitter war over the family leadership with Carmine's son, Little Carmine. More violence was threatened upon Tony Soprano's New Jersey family following the unauthorized murder of two of Johnny's men by Tony's cousin, Tony Blundetto, on Little Carmine's behalf. After both New York factions suffered heavy casualties, the conflict was brought to an end with Little Carmine surrendering control of the family. This was followed by a tentative reconciliation with Tony, who had personally taken the life of Blundetto to bury the hatchet. However, the moment was cut short when Johnny was promptly arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation after the family's consigliere, Jimmy Petrille, turned state's evidence. Even while in jail awaiting trial he remained in control of the Lupertazzi family.
In the sixth season, Johnny entrusted Phil Leotardo with the role of acting boss while he was in jail. Johnny's brother-in-law Anthony Infante acted as a back channel for communications to reach him while he was imprisoned. His wife remained supportive, often visiting him in prison. Johnny was portrayed as becoming more selfish while imprisoned — he commonly disregards the problems of others stating that his "situation" should take precedence. He ordered Phil to maintain a good relationship with Tony and avoid starting a war over any business disputes, particularly the new office park construction project - another shared venture like the esplanade project.
After the death of Dick Barone, while Tony was recovering from a gunshot, Lupertazzi front organization Cinelli Sanitation tried to buy Barone Sanitation, a Soprano front, from its naive new owner Jason Barone. John mediated negotiations about Tony's compensation for this from prison, through Phil. Phil told Tony that Johnny was in a panic state over his finances while in prison. Phil agreed to a solution with Tony, perhaps better than he had been expecting because of Tony's new outlook. Johnny later asked Phil to reach out to Tony to organize a hit on Rusty Millio, but Tony refused, saying he needed to set some boundaries.
Johnny was granted a release from prison to attend his daughter Allegra's wedding. However, he had to cover the cost of U.S. Marshals and metal detectors for the wedding and would have 6 hours maximum. Johnny seemed to enjoy the wedding despite covering its huge cost personally. When the time came for Johnny to leave the wedding he was reluctant to go — he wanted to wait until his daughter and her new groom left. However, the marshals blocked her limousine and dragged Johnny away in handcuffs, causing him to break down in tears. Later, his crew discussed this show as a display of weakness. Tony was the only one to stand up for Johnny, saying that when it comes to daughters, "all bets are off."
While at the wedding John took the chance to talk business, personally asking Tony to perform the hit on Rusty Millio because he was worried Rusty would again act as a king maker, and try to replace him while he was away. John hinted that he was worried that Phil might be the one nominated by Rusty. Tony agreed to take on the job and he contracted it out to a two-man crew flown in from Naples, Italy, Italo and Salvatore, who executed Millio and quickly returned to Italy.
Johnny again reached out to Tony for help, this time with his financial situation. Johnny elected to use his brother-in-law Anthony as a go-between instead of Phil. Johnny knew he faced asset seizures and wanted to secure some capital for his family — he planned to sell his share as a silent partner in a heavy equipment lending firm in New Orleans. Johnny had received the share when one of the owners, Paul Calviac, got into thousands of dollars of gambling debt with him. The deal was not without difficulties. Calviac was embittered and unwilling to sell any of the company facing huge profits following Hurricane Katrina, Anthony had trouble communicating in code with Johnny and Tony wanted more than the 7% of the sale that Johnny had suggested. Johnny eventually let Tony's brother-in-law, Bobby Baccalieri, buy his home at half price in order to ensure that Tony would enforce the sale.
Johnny's efforts to maintain control of his family ultimately proved futile. His lawyer, Ron Perse, floated the possibility of cooperating with the FBI, but John was quick to dismiss this. However, as the trial neared, Ron arranged a deal with the government on Johnny's behalf. Facing a massive asset seizure that would have left both him and beloved wife destitute and a case he could not possibly beat, Johnny pleaded guilty to 47 RICO predicates for a reduced sentence of 15 years and a fine of $4.1 million — effectively ending his position as boss (but still leaving Ginny enough money to live comfortably). As part of the deal, he was also required to give an allocution admitting his involvement in organized crime (although he did not reveal the names of any associates). Members of both the Soprano and Lupertazzi families were angered by his allocution, believing that John should have stood trial before admitting anything regarding La Cosa Nostra. Johnny was now serving 15 years in federal prison, and was considered persona non grata among his former associates.
During his incarceration, Johnny developed a highly malignant form of lung cancer brought on by a 38-year smoking habit. He died at the United States Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri not long after receiving a grim prognosis from an oncologist at the Cleveland Clinic. Before his death, John asked his brother-in-law how he'd be remembered, to which he responded, "well-liked and respected" but added he was a bit of a hot-head. John simply shrugged, as he knew that no one really knows the stress involved in being a boss, possibly foreshadowing the mayhem to follow in New York after his death. When news spread to the Bada Bing and Tony's crew that Johnny had passed he was given a touching salute from his friends and fellow boss, showing that despite his guilty plea Johnny was still a respected mobster and Cosa Nostra associate. A picture of John at a healthier age was put up next to portraits of Carmine Lupertazzi Sr. and Billy Leotardo on the wall in John's social club, now owned by Phil, to commemorate the late Don of New York.
Unusual for a Mafioso, it was implied that Johnny Sack was always faithful to his wife, whom he loved deeply. If so, this would make him one of the only two married wiseguys in The Sopranos to stay monogamous, along with Bobby Baccalieri.
John drove a Mercedes-Benz S500 and later bought a Maserati Coupé and dressed stylishly. His usual calm demeanor and respectful way of carrying himself made him suitable for the role of underboss. He was also almost always seen smoking a cigarette.
John was a walking paradox. His enigmatic expressions while in deliberation were contrasted by his decisive expression when giving out orders. He was in control of those around him. It can be noted that Johnny Sack would rarely visibly display his rage or irritation, except when his wife's reputation was involved. In most other cases, Johnny chose not to show his feelings, usually giving just a nod to Tony in a way of saying, "you're welcome", but rather acted behind the scenes to take his revenge or undermine people. This would mean he was invisibly pulling strings in certain situations to sabotage people or deals. Also, his loyalty, even in an organized crime context, can be seen as flexible. Depending on the opportunity, he was prepared to either help or at least not try to prevent hits on Junior Soprano, Tony and Carmine.
When disputes between the Soprano and Lupertazzi families occurred, John was publicly almost always the voice of moderation. When Tony and Carmine both declined to back off in their dispute on the Esplanade deal, Johnny tried to convince Carmine to still change his mind and not resort to violence. For Johnny, it was the profit of all involved (including his own) that mattered most in such cases, not honor and respect.