If there was one lesson to be gleaned from the untimely passing of Jackie Aprile Jr. on last month's season finale of The Sopranos, it was this: Never underestimate the advantages of getting whacked in front of 9.5 million viewers. Of course, you don't have to tell that to Jackie's hotter-than-ever portrayer, Jason Cerbone, whose on-screen death has made him a bit of a TV legend — not to mention one of the most sought-after commodities in Hollywood.

"The Sopranos has been the greatest," the 23-year-old New Yorker marvels to TV Guide Online. "Things have been really crazy. I've got a couple of movie offers on the table, but I haven't decided what I'll pass on or take." Incidentally, Cerbone admits he'd like to get another shot at the small screen. "I'd love to do a spot on Friends," he confesses.

In the meantime, Cerbone is keeping busy defending his Sopranos alter ego to the man on the street. Although Jackie Jr. wasn't a rat like Big Pussy, he did cheat on mob boss Tony Soprano's daughter and shot up a made man. But he bemoans that "Jackie wasn't as much a punk as he was confused."

Of course, you don't have to tell that to the actor's legions of female fans, many of whom would rather take themselves out than believe rumors linking him with Sopranos co-star, Jamie-Lynn Sigler. "It's nice that people care," he offers, "but I keep my personal life close to my heart." (Sigler has publicly denied talk of an off-screen romance.)

Cerbone also isn't spilling any secrets about the fourth season of the HBO drama, which won't kick off until April 2002. Speaking of which, the lengthy hiatus has Sopranos fans screaming bloody murder. However, Cerbone — a fan of the series since the beginning — teases that all good things come to those who wait. "The quality of the show speaks for itself," he reasons. "Be patient."