While in prison in 1995, Tupac Shakur received many letters from well known celebrities, including a letter from Tony Danza as showcased in the ‘Wake Me When I’m Free’ exhibit.
Back on February of 1995, Tupac was sentenced to 1 1/2 to 4 1/2 years behind bars for an alleged rape charge. The sentencing would come months after Shakur was shot 5 times at Quad Studios in New York. Although spending 11 months locked up, Suge Knight and Death Row records was able to put up a $1.5 million dollar bail for Tupac’s release. During his time in prison, Tupac would receive a letter from actor Tony Danza.
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.”
In the letter Danza reminded Tupac of his impact on the kids and suggested he found ways to make more positive impacts on them. “So, he wrote me back and basically he didn’t understand what I was trying to say. He said, ‘Thanks for understanding me,'” Danza recalled. Tony wrote again to Tupac to further explain and to ensure Tupac did not misunderstand his first letter. Thereafter, Tupac and Tony Danza would write to one another as Tupac did time behind bars.
One of those letters written by Tony Danza to Tupac is being showcased for all to see at an incredible exhibit in Los Angeles. Created in collaboration with the Shakur Estate, the ‘Wake Me When I’m Free’ exhibit dives into the greater meaning of his activism, music, and revolutionary art, as the exhibit educates and enlightens attendees through a labyrinth of emotions, as they take this journey through his extraordinary life.
Tony Danza’s letter to Tupac
In the letter written by Tony Danza on June 13th 1995, the actor wrote, “I was really happy to get your letter back. No I.O.U. necessary. Let’s keep in touch maybe it will help pass the time. The hard thing about writing is that you’ll have to read about what’s going on in my life. Oh well. The kids are great. I have one 24 year old son, 2 girls (8 + 2 1/2). Different wives. I’m on a pretty good role right now and I feel like this is my year. I’m breaking in a live variety act right now and looking for a date in Vegas in July. Wish me luck!”
The letter was written on a Katie Face Productions memo paper via Sony Studios. During this time, the Brooklyn actor starred and executively produced the ‘Hudson Street’ sitcom. Airing on ABC, the sitcom would only last for one season.
After Tupac’s release from prison, Shakur and Tony Danza would run into each other at a red carpet event. Danza’s letter was also featured on Tupac’s 2003 documentary ‘Resurrection.’
Along with Tony Danza’s letter, the ‘Wake Me When I’m Free’ also showcases court documents from the alleged rape case, letters from Johnny J and Quincy Jones, Tupac’s hand written track list for upcoming albums, and Shakur’s ‘Live 2 Tell’ movie script. Fans can also see Tupac’s exercise routine while in prison. A routine that consist of curls, beach wing curl, chest, dips, crunches, and leg work.
Tickets are still available for the ‘Wake Me When I’m Free’ exhibit. For more information click here.