North High grad is 'glorified extra' in 'Sopranos' finale

June 14, 2007|by KAREN HANNA

HAGERSTOWN - Viewers who felt burned by the nebulous last episode of "The Sopranos" can take solace knowing the son of a local family has enjoyed a taste of stardom.

Henry O'Neill mobbed up with one of television's most famous families as an extra in the diner scene of "The Sopranos" swan-song episode.

A "glorified extra" who learned he had gotten the part just hours after auditioning, O'Neill said he was pleased with the series' ambiguous ending. After several days of shooting in the spring, O'Neill said he was happy just to make the final cut.

"Again, they shot just tons and tons of different stuff," O'Neill said. "I was very pleased with the way that it ended, that I'm even in there."


O'Neill said he and a woman played the part of a couple in the diner. They ad-libbed lines - O'Neill never saw a script - but the dialogue stayed on the cutting-room floor.

What happened to Tony Soprano is less certain.

"I know they shot different endings - I don't know if any of them are going to be on the DVD - and they didn't use any of them," O'Neill said. "They just fade to black."

The son of Joseph O'Neill and Elizabeth Lefebure-O'Neill of Hagerstown, O'Neill graduated from North Hagerstown High School in 1999 and now lives in New York City, hoping for his shot at Broadway. He turned 26 Tuesday, two days after "The Sopranos" closed its six-season run.

John O'Neill, Henry's older brother, said the family is proud of his work. A master electrician, 27-year-old John O'Neill works behind the scenes, building sets.

Unlike his brother, John O'Neill, who is working with the Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre, said he's content with regional theater.

"My brother is taking the hard route," John O'Neill said. "He's in a place where there's 150,000 people trying to get any job that's open, and there might only be 30 or 40 jobs open."

Show business might be a cut-throat calling, but Elizabeth Lefebure-O'Neill expressed confidence her son, who performed for two years in a touring production of "Miss Saigon," someday could be a made man.

"We figure that the day is coming," Lefebure-O'Neill said. "We feel that the day is coming."

Though he said he enjoyed the exposure he's gotten from his scene on "The Sopranos," O'Neill said his passion remains the stage.

"My love has always been theater and the live audience, so that's where my heart is now and for the foreseeable future," said O'Neill, who left open the possibility of someday moving to Los Angeles.

For Lefebure-O'Neill, who watched "The Sopranos" for the first time Sunday, O'Neill's small-screen role was a big hit.

"The last five minutes of the show, I enjoyed it very much, and I was very proud of my son," Lefebure-O'Neill said.

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