June 27 was a day filled with sadness this year as family, friends, and co-stars all paid their final tributes in New York City to James Gandolfini.
David Chase, creator of The Sopranos praised the actor for his amazing ability to add such great depth to the character of Tony Soprano, saying he brought the traits of “a sad boy” to the character. Chase also praised the actor in his personal life. Aside from Chase, Gandolfini’s widow as well two other family friends spoke at the service.
The Sopranos star passed away June 20 from a heart attack while in Rome; he was going to receive an award at the Taormina Film Festival later that week. Gandolfini was known in life as a dedicated actor who took his roles extremely seriously. From researching roles to practicing lines, he was quoted once saying that his acting was “an act of faith”. Well the faith paid in spades; he won three Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 2000, 2001, and 2003. Aside from the television career, Gandolfini also starred in movies such as Zero Dark Thirty and the 2003 remake of The Taking of Pelham 123.
While known as the violent, anxiety and depression-controlled mob boss on television, Gandolfini was known in his personal life as a quiet, shy man who greatly understood his acting roles and took his job very seriously. Celebrities and co-stars praised the actor for his giving and kind nature. Celebrities also reached out from across the internet as Steve Carell said on Twitter: “James Gandolfini. What a great loss.” The loss of this prolific actor has been felt across the world.
While a private family wake was held for the actor, some 1,500 seats were set up for celebrities, friends, and fans of Gandolfini’s work at the larger service. The New Jersey accents must have filled the air as thousands of fans lined up just for a chance to honor the man who was the boss.
The Sopranos was a six season long television drama revolving around the New Jersey-based Italian crime family led by Tony Soprano. The show featured Tony’s struggles as he tries to balance the two conflicting lives of having a family as well as running a major criminal organization.
The show ran from April 1998 to its finale on June 10, 2007. The show currently airs in syndication across multiple major networks since its HBO finale. The Sopranos is regarded by many to be the greatest television show of all time. Aside from the awards won individually by Gandolfini, The Sopranos won awards from the Emmys, Directors Guild of America, Golden Globes, and other honors. In 2013 the Writers Guild of America bestowed the honor of the best written show of all time. One of the most impressive measures of success of The Sopranos was its ratings. The show originally aired on HBO, which is shown in a smaller number of American homes than the larger networks. Despite this disadvantage, The Sopranos attracted equal if not sometimes larger audiences than most popular network shows airing during that time.
Tough guys do cry sometimes. Tough guy actors such as Steve Schirripa and Vincent Curatola openly wept at the services on Thursday as the choir sang to a packed cathedral.
Gandolfini is survived by his wife, Deborah, and their 9-month-old daughter, Liliana. He is also survived by a son, Michael.
For those who have not seen The Sopranos, you may want to reconsider. Honor the late James Gandolfini and experience what is one of, if not the best television series of all time.