After becoming pen pals in 1995, Papa G was able to connect Tupac and Tony Danza for their first and only in person interaction.
As the world remembers and mourns the loss of Papa G real name George Pryce, Death Row records publicist, we look back at Papa G’s role in connecting Tupac and Tony Danza.
Serving 11 and a half months behind bars, Tupac had many of his supporters, including actor Tony Danza. Surprisingly, Tupac would receive a letter from the Brooklyn born actor.
According to Tony Danza, he wanted to write to Tupac showing his support and offering the rapper some advice. “After seeing, he’s in jail and he has five bullet holes in him. I remember seeing that big Thug Life (points to his stomach area), I said, ‘I can’t believe this guy. Such a good actor.’ And, I was listening to the radio, I heard ‘Dear Mama,’” Tony Danza explains on Sway In The Morning. “Now here’s a guy who wrote that song and is in jail with five bullets, something is wrong with this picture.”
The two would become pen pals while Tupac was behind bars. In 2022, the Tupac Estate featured one of the letters written by Tony Danza to Tupac at the Wake Me When I’m Free exhibit. (View: Read Tony Danza’s Letter To Tupac Showcased At Exhibit In L.A.)
“One night I was at a premiere, I can’t remember which movie it was,” Tony recalls. “I was standing there. There was light. It was like a spotlight, really lit up, like red carpet and stuff. And all of a sudden it got dark. It was the biggest bodyguard you have ever seen. He said Tupac is over there. I went over there and I said hello and we talked for a couple of minutes.”
Although Danza claims he and Tupac met at a movie premiere, in a rare footage, Papa G had plans of connecting Shakur and Tony at the 1996 Grammys in Los Angeles.
“You know you’re nominated for the Grammys, but you’re also a presenter. I got this note the other day about you being a presenter on it. If that’s cool with you, I’ll go ahead and confirm that,” said Papa G in the rare footage at the Death Row records headquarters. “You know the bit about Tony Danza, I’m trying to get them together so we can do some kind of thing where you guys meet at the Grammys cause you know he was really supportive of you.” Tupac agreeing with the plans, “But it should just be some natural stuff.”
No confirmation as to any interaction between Tony Danza and Tupac at the 1996 Grammys, but Shakur did “shock the world” when he presented Kiss on stage. Tupac was nominated for Best Rap Album with “Me Against The World” and Best Rap Solo Performance with “Dear Mama,” both which he did not win, losing out to Naughty By Nature’s “Poverty’s Paradise” and Coolio’s “Gangsta Paradise.”