Don't Stop Believing
June 19, 2013 5:02 PM   Subscribe

James Gandolfini, best known for his portrayal of Tony Soprano on The Sopranos, has died at the age of 51.

“I seek out good stories, basically — that’s it,” he told The Star-Ledger last December.

Gandolfini was 51 years old and is survived by a wife and two children. He became a household star for his portrayal of mob boss Tony Soprano on "The Sopranos," a role which earned him three Emmys on six total nominations.
posted by whyareyouatriangle (210 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
Mod note: Folks maybe don't clutter up MeFi lulzing in every obit post?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:04 PM on June 19, 2013 [21 favorites]


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posted by Mr.Me at 5:04 PM on June 19, 2013


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posted by ryecatcher at 5:04 PM on June 19, 2013


Holy Shit. He will be missed. RIP.
posted by jonmc at 5:05 PM on June 19, 2013


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posted by Flashman at 5:05 PM on June 19, 2013


51? Wow, so young.

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posted by octothorpe at 5:05 PM on June 19, 2013


There should be a mob war to decide which of these three obit posts stays. Tony would have wanted it that way.
posted by Danf at 5:05 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Don't stop.
posted by Joel Johnson at 5:06 PM on June 19, 2013


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posted by dual_action at 5:06 PM on June 19, 2013


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posted by gkhan at 5:06 PM on June 19, 2013


Oh my God. This is terrible.
posted by tzikeh at 5:06 PM on June 19, 2013


I liked him on The Sopranos, but I love him reading In the Night Kitchen.
posted by box at 5:07 PM on June 19, 2013 [21 favorites]


As an Italian from New Jersey, he made us seem cool.
I had this weird crush on him watching the Sopranos as a kid. I can't explain it.

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posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:07 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


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posted by Flitcraft at 5:07 PM on June 19, 2013


I can't say I've seen much of his other work personally, but what a loss. He was able to inhabit Tony so completely, to portray his power and vulnerability equally strikingly. Though Tony was often weakened he at times seemed immortal, and through Tony James has found immortality. RIP.
posted by yellowbinder at 5:07 PM on June 19, 2013


Bloody hell. First Kim Thompson, now James Gandolfini? Fiftyone is way too young.
posted by MartinWisse at 5:08 PM on June 19, 2013


Oh, for fuck's sake, Death. You believe this fuckin' guy?

Was just watching a random Sopranos episode the other day and thinking what a incredible actor he was, and how I always looked forward to seeing him in pretty much anything. Very sad.
posted by scody at 5:08 PM on June 19, 2013 [11 favorites]


Oh that's terrible.

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posted by dabug at 5:08 PM on June 19, 2013


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posted by humanfont at 5:08 PM on June 19, 2013



He was awesome in "The Mexican"

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posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 5:08 PM on June 19, 2013 [16 favorites]


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posted by Iridic at 5:08 PM on June 19, 2013


Holy cannoli, I did not see that one coming. Sad. Far too young in both life and his career.
posted by heyho at 5:09 PM on June 19, 2013


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posted by brundlefly at 5:09 PM on June 19, 2013


Ugh, TMZ mentions his wife just gave birth to their daughter last October. Too young.
posted by disillusioned at 5:09 PM on June 19, 2013


Oh my gosh. This is hard to believe.
posted by torticat at 5:09 PM on June 19, 2013


[cut to black]







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posted by mazola at 5:09 PM on June 19, 2013 [9 favorites]


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He always had this cool sense of vulnerability, which is necessary to inhabit any really distinctive monster. Dead much too soon.
posted by selfnoise at 5:09 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


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posted by Ink-stained wretch at 5:09 PM on June 19, 2013


Great in In the Loop, too. But man, Tony Soprano was one for the Iconic Character Pantheon.
posted by COBRA! at 5:10 PM on June 19, 2013 [12 favorites]


He may be Tony Soprano to most people, but to me he'll always be the hitman so jaded he kills people just to watch their expression change.

And Jesus, less than 10 years older than I am?

Damn.

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posted by dersins at 5:10 PM on June 19, 2013 [8 favorites]


He was absolutely great in the Sopranos.

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posted by Foci for Analysis at 5:10 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm stunned. What a loss.
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posted by double block and bleed at 5:12 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


!

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posted by painquale at 5:13 PM on June 19, 2013


Oh, how sad. For his family and friends, of course, and selfishly for the rest of us --- for all the performances that will never be.

I just learned this accidentally: the DVR didn't click on to record "The Sopranos" reruns as it does every weekday at 8 pm, so I did a quick search to see its new broadcast time --- and was greeted with this sad news. I said out loud to the dim, empty room "OH NO! No. No." And then started crying. Maybe it's just the suddenness, but I can't remember having such a visceral response since Phil Hartman died.

TV owes a great debt to "The Sopranos," and modern anti-heroes owe at least as much to the magnificent mix of charm and viciousness and playfulness and vulnerability that James Gandolfini brought to Tony Soprano.

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posted by Elsa at 5:13 PM on June 19, 2013 [10 favorites]


So young, and with a baby. So sad.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:14 PM on June 19, 2013


Very sad he died so young.

Obviously the Sopranos was his giant shining achievement, but noteworthy was his fine performance in the wonderful Coen Brothers film The Man Who Wasn't There
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:14 PM on June 19, 2013 [13 favorites]


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posted by helmutdog at 5:14 PM on June 19, 2013


Oh, jeez.


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posted by droplet at 5:15 PM on June 19, 2013


51 is way too young. This is just terribly sad.

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posted by mosk at 5:16 PM on June 19, 2013


Stunned.

He was also very good in In the Loop.

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posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 5:17 PM on June 19, 2013


Oh yeah, he was in True Romance... I had forgotten all about Virgil.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 5:17 PM on June 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Damn. 51 is way too young. Like dersins, I'll always remember him for True Romance - seeing him explode into violence as Tony Soprano never approached watching the brutality of his hitman, Virgil, but his dynamic range of emotion while playing Tony was what earned him those Emmys, not the violence.

RIP, Mr. Gandolfini.
posted by ooga_booga at 5:17 PM on June 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


This is so sad. He was often the best and most memorable part of any production I'd see him in, even if it was a small supporting role. What a guy to lose.
posted by prize bull octorok at 5:17 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


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posted by Guy Smiley at 5:18 PM on June 19, 2013


He'd been working on a new HBO series. No idea how much filming had already occurred.
posted by modernnomad at 5:19 PM on June 19, 2013


During his run on The Sopranos, his eyes were the best actor on TV.

Can't believe how hard this hit.
posted by mudpuppie at 5:19 PM on June 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Sopranos isn't my favorite show of all time, but certainly rates. However, Gandolfini gave rather indisputably one of the most iconic television performances of all time in that role, and was enjoyable in everything I've ever seen him in (and I didn't even know he'd done Broadway stuff till today!).

Much too young. RIP.
posted by sparkletone at 5:20 PM on June 19, 2013


He's pretty great in hus short appearance in True Romance as well.

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posted by Artw at 5:20 PM on June 19, 2013


I second 'In The Loop' ("And at the end of a war you need some soldiers left, really, or else it looks like you've lost") and add 'Get Shorty'.

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posted by sexymofo at 5:20 PM on June 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


He was also terrific as the stuntman Bear in Get Shorty.

Not incidentally, also a fan favorite in the bear community, especially for that role.

He will be missed by many.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:21 PM on June 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Shocking and sad. I'm all Sicilian, he was practically a relative.
posted by thinkpiece at 5:22 PM on June 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


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What a shame. The Sopranos was amazing.
posted by chunking express at 5:22 PM on June 19, 2013


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posted by wallabear at 5:23 PM on June 19, 2013


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posted by raysmj at 5:24 PM on June 19, 2013


con i santi, Jimmy.

Everyone else, learn this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcbgpiKyUbs
posted by superelastic at 5:24 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised he was so young. Would've been in his 30s when The Sopranos was on.
posted by Greener Backyards at 5:25 PM on June 19, 2013


I found his performance in Not Fade Away so poignant. Bali hai, sir.

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posted by pxe2000 at 5:25 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


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posted by marguerite at 5:25 PM on June 19, 2013


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posted by Renoroc at 5:25 PM on June 19, 2013


I liked him on The Sopranos, but I love him reading In the Night Kitchen.

I just watched this, and was surprised to find that he sings the same parts we sing, with the same tune.

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posted by anastasiav at 5:26 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


The depth and complexity in Gandolfini's Tony Soprano was very often breathtaking.

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posted by eyeballkid at 5:28 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


.!
posted by jquinby at 5:28 PM on June 19, 2013


There have been other, better shows since the Sopranos (though they're better by fractions of inches, not the leaps and bounds Sopranos was better than most of what had come before), but I don't know that I've seen somebody on any TV show give such a remarkable nuanced performances as Gandolfini as Tony Soprano. He could seem like a helpless man child in one scene and a force of nature in another. The episode where he kills Ralph Cifaretto (indeed, the scene where he kills him), for example, is a real showcase for Gandolfini's ability - he goes from mourning to murder to stone cold detachment and makes it entirely believable. Indeed, it was easy to believe that Gandolfini was Tony Soprano, that Tony was a living, breathing human being somewhere. If you want to take a master's class in acting and don't have the money, study him in that role. He's one of the best actors of our lifetimes and we're all lucky to have been alive at a time where we could watch a great actor matched perfectly with a great role.

David Chase is quite rightly given credit for creating Sopranos and making it one of our greatest TV shows. However, with Gandolfini's performance, I wonder if it would have lasted more than one season? Go watch season #1 again and marvel at him.

Not to engage in hyperbole, but losing Gandolfini so young is a cultural tragedy. Much sympathy to his family and friends.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:28 PM on June 19, 2013 [41 favorites]


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posted by Sphinx at 5:28 PM on June 19, 2013


Wow. I'm so sad about this. RIP.
posted by sweetkid at 5:28 PM on June 19, 2013


Man, I felt the shadow cross my heart when I read that. What a great actor.
posted by notsnot at 5:28 PM on June 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


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posted by Cash4Lead at 5:28 PM on June 19, 2013


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One of the few MeFi Obits ever to cause me to actually gasp and say "WHAT?" aloud. What sad news.

He was great as Tony Soprano, but his ultimate genius role will always be in Get Shorty.
posted by Sara C. at 5:30 PM on June 19, 2013 [10 favorites]


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posted by Brody's chum at 5:31 PM on June 19, 2013


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posted by condour75 at 5:32 PM on June 19, 2013



One of the few MeFi Obits ever to cause me to actually gasp and say "WHAT?" aloud.


That was my exact reaction.
posted by sweetkid at 5:33 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


In hindsight, there are so many reasons why The Sopranos shouldn't work, and about 50% of them were taken care of by the casting of Mr. Gandolfini.

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posted by MCMikeNamara at 5:33 PM on June 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


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posted by Busithoth at 5:34 PM on June 19, 2013


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posted by w0mbat at 5:35 PM on June 19, 2013


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posted by Token Meme at 5:35 PM on June 19, 2013


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Oh wow, I will miss him. I remember how astonished I was when I saw him on Inside the Actor's Studio and realized how different he was in person from Tony Soprano, right down to his voice. He clearly took his craft so seriously and was so humble, unassuming, friendly. I highly recommend the entire thing, it is fascinating to hear him explain how he prepared for the role (available here in entirety).
posted by susanvance at 5:35 PM on June 19, 2013 [17 favorites]


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posted by Zonker at 5:36 PM on June 19, 2013


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posted by Stewriffic at 5:36 PM on June 19, 2013


Oh yea, he was just fantastic in interviews, esp Inside the Actor's Studio.

But like - we could have had so much more great work from him. So sad.
posted by sweetkid at 5:37 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


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posted by Xoebe at 5:37 PM on June 19, 2013


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posted by Smart Dalek at 5:38 PM on June 19, 2013


Too soon. I very much enjoyed his performances, and not just on the Sopranos.

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posted by snuffleupagus at 5:38 PM on June 19, 2013


From the unclassifiable Romance & Cigarettes, James Gandolfini sings "A Man Without Love". He was clearly an actor's actor, dedicated to his craft and ready to venture anything that would further it.

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posted by Doktor Zed at 5:40 PM on June 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


One of the few MeFi Obits ever to cause me to actually gasp and say "WHAT?" aloud.

That was my exact reaction.


Mine too. I am stunned.

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posted by fuse theorem at 5:42 PM on June 19, 2013


Damn.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:43 PM on June 19, 2013


From the unclassifiable Romance & Cigarettes, James Gandolfini sings "A Man Without Love". He was clearly an actor's actor, dedicated to his craft and ready to venture anything that would further it.

Thank you for that.
posted by sweetkid at 5:47 PM on June 19, 2013


I too shouted "WHAT??" in my car when the news came over NPR. A real shock and a terrible loss. Like Greener Backyards above, I'm also shocked by how young he was, and especially while he was in the Sopranos. It's just one more testimonial to his skill as an actor that through the course of the series he conveyed such a sense of age settling on Tony, with all of the diminishment of possibility and loss of hope for change that age can bring--it's really hard to believe he was only 46 in that final season. And heartbreaking to think he'll never have the chance to get old.
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posted by Kat Allison at 5:48 PM on June 19, 2013


Damn. One of my brothers had cable and would record the Sopranos and we would pass those tapes between siblings. James Gandolfini loomed large in our lives for a few years there. I remember passing on a tape of that week's show trying to not give anything away, but we loved to talk about Tony.

Oh, the sideways looks that Gandolfini could give.

RIP
posted by readery at 5:52 PM on June 19, 2013


Here's hoping he'll be reborn as Gandolf the White.

Yeah, I've got nothing. This sucks.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 5:52 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


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posted by JoeXIII007 at 5:53 PM on June 19, 2013


I can't believe it. :( Such a fantastic actor, and a real mensch to boot. His poor family. So, so sad.

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posted by zarq at 5:53 PM on June 19, 2013


Dear gods. Too, too young. Shocking, to say the least.

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posted by MissySedai at 5:54 PM on June 19, 2013


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posted by Beardman at 5:55 PM on June 19, 2013


Now we definitely won't get to see Big Dead Place on HBO


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posted by deadbilly at 5:56 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


One of the few MeFi Obits ever to cause me to actually gasp and say "WHAT?" aloud.

That was my exact reaction.


My reaction as well. RIP Mr. Gandolfini. My deepest condolences to your family.
posted by annieb at 5:56 PM on June 19, 2013


:(

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posted by UseyurBrain at 5:57 PM on June 19, 2013


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posted by dlugoczaj at 6:02 PM on June 19, 2013


He will always be Winston Baldry to me. I absolutely adored him in that role.

According to IMDb, he played Carol in Where the Wild Things Are. Which explains why my heart felt so broken after watching that movie.

Well, look: this used to be all rock, and now it's sand, and then, one day, it's going to be dust, and then the whole island will be dust, and then... well I don't even know what comes after dust.

RIP.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 6:02 PM on June 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


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posted by Obscure Reference at 6:06 PM on June 19, 2013


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i was once at a private party with, among about 30 others, him. enough people that i didn't feel comfortable saying hello, few enough though that he was always visible to everyone in the room at all times. it was bizarre to see him go to the bar, order 5 glasses of wine (one for everyone at his table), and then figure out how to carry them back all at once with out spilling. in other words, TONY FUCKING SOPRANO in the flesh doing normal human being type things that normal friendly people do for one another. except he's TONY FUCKING SOPRANO!

way, way too youg.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 6:09 PM on June 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Shocking news. Tony Soprano is one of the great characters, and JG gave him amazing depth.

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posted by feste at 6:09 PM on June 19, 2013


I'm a big watch guy. Wristwatches.

Shortly after the end of 'the sopranos', there was an influx of a very high end brand of wristwatches for sale on the forums I frequent.

Inscribed was something to the effect of 'to the end of the sopranos. Thanks for all your hard work. JG'

Apparently, James Gandolfini bought everyone on the entire crew a $3K watch to commemorate their hard work.

God damn bastard. You impressed the entire forum with not only your selection of a fine timepiece, but your generosity.

I hope the entire world remembers you for the guy you were behind the scenes. Safe travels, friend.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:10 PM on June 19, 2013 [17 favorites]


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posted by sleep_walker at 6:11 PM on June 19, 2013


I had this weird crush on him watching the Sopranos as a kid. I can't explain it.

I can. He was sexy as hell in that role. (Uh. So my wife tells me.)

He will be missed.
posted by device55 at 6:12 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Too young!
posted by Glinn at 6:15 PM on June 19, 2013


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posted by kewb at 6:18 PM on June 19, 2013


If ever a day has proven the adage "only the good die young" (sorry, Slim), it's today.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:18 PM on June 19, 2013


Dang. .
posted by PuppyCat at 6:19 PM on June 19, 2013


I had a friend who would go on and on about how sexy he was after seeing true romance. Which I found kind of bizarre considering the actual content of that scene. But she swore that "all that aside, there's just something about the guy" It wasn't until the Sopranos that I saw what she was getting at. His ability to put so much charm and vulnerability behind the menace. He's been one of my favorite actors since then.
posted by billyfleetwood at 6:23 PM on June 19, 2013


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posted by gauche at 6:23 PM on June 19, 2013


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posted by blurker at 6:25 PM on June 19, 2013


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posted by smudgedlens at 6:26 PM on June 19, 2013


Such a shock to hear the news tonight. Awww no. My condolences to his wife, Deborah Lin, his infant daughter, Liliana Ruth Gandolfini (born October 10, 2012), his son, Michael, his ex-wife, Marcy Wudarski, to all his friends and relatives.

The first thought that came after the shock of his being so young to die was thanks that he died in Rome, in Italy, that he loved and visited so much.

James Gandolfini talks about his Iraq documentary. His documentary about post traumatic stress disorder is watchable on Youtube: Wartorn: 1861-2010

I remember first watching The Sopranos in January 1999, the intense virility of Tony. He was riveting in that role. Not merely as a typical gangster but for how he portrayed a sociopath with such exquisite subtlety. As somebody who survived a sociopath 'parent', it was mesmerizing to watch him do what he did. Life changing for me and many other friends I knew who grew up with or married sociopaths. Of course David Chase's writing of the show was brilliant. But it was James Gandolfini who carried it off, was the perfect axis for the epic and spectacularly memorable, iconic. I feel deeply grateful to him for his acting.

What came to mind is this ee cummings poem for another iconic macho man.

Buffalo Bill's

defunct

who used to

ride a watersmooth-silver

stallion

and break onetwothreefourfive pigeonsjustlikethat

Jesus



he was a handsome man

and what i want to know is

how do you like your blueeyed boy

Mister Death

posted by nickyskye at 6:27 PM on June 19, 2013 [23 favorites]


Yeah, JG was sexy as hell. I loved watching him in anything he turned up in. Great actor, always looking for interesting roles, and always fully committed to them. (or if not fully committed, it was appropriate to the tone of the piece for him to be performing the role with a sideways wink toward the audience).

I had worried about his weight over the past few years, as he seemed to really be packing on the pounds. And then today I heard this, and was shocked, but also not fully surprised.

His talent and beautiful self will be missed.

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posted by hippybear at 6:27 PM on June 19, 2013


Watching Gandolfini onscreen was like savoring a fine wine. Sadly, a vintage that we likely won't see again.


RIP, sir, and Thank You.
posted by pjern at 6:29 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


More impressive than his role in Zero Dark Thirty, he recently offered a phenomenal turn as a down and out alcoholic hit man in Killing Them Softly, directed by Andrew Dominik, alongside Brad Pitt and Ray Liotta. It was a superb role. His presence on screen, big or small, will be truly missed.

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posted by buffalo at 6:30 PM on June 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I saw this on G+ and came here to confirm because I didn't believe it. He was a really talented actor and seemed like a really nice guy, and this is super sad. I'm going to watch In The Loop (again) tonight.
posted by jess at 6:32 PM on June 19, 2013


I loved him in Where The Wild Things Are.

Remembering James Gandolfini For More Than Just ‘The Sopranos’
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 6:39 PM on June 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


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posted by Atreides at 6:40 PM on June 19, 2013


Makes me think of one of my favorite things from the Sopranos- I get it!

I'd forgotten he was in Killing me Softly- that was a lovely movie, and he was indeed wonderful in it. 51, holy fuck.


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posted by hap_hazard at 6:41 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm older than he was. Dang.

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posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:55 PM on June 19, 2013


No love for The Last Castle?
posted by kokaku at 6:56 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


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posted by cazoo at 6:56 PM on June 19, 2013


I never really got deep into the Sopranos, but I loved him in everything I saw him in. Given how little of the film he's in, it's amazing how much I think of True Romance as one of 'his' movies. He owned that role, from the terrifying smile of anticipation in the trailer, or the whole scene with Arquette in the motel room. Damn, that was a terrifying character.

Also, the Mexican, where he took a role that, in other hands, would have been a cartoonish insult (ooh, a gay hitman, i'll play that for laughs, a lesser actor might have thought), and instead made an incredible character.

Damn.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:03 PM on June 19, 2013


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posted by brevator at 7:03 PM on June 19, 2013


Don't forget 8mm y'all.

I was so happy when he had his little girl. He seemed like a guy who would make a great dad.
Now this.
Heartbreaking.


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posted by djrock3k at 7:06 PM on June 19, 2013


This hit me the same way the news of Joe Strummer's death hit me -- TOO SOON! So much talent, so much potential, gone. I *adored* him in "The Mexican" and "Get Shorty," and like someone else upthread mentioned, whenever I saw him in a movie or on tv, even if it was a bit part, it made me happy. So sad to hear he has an eight-month-old daughter, too. Heartbreaking on so many levels.

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posted by flyingsquirrel at 7:13 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


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posted by Vibrissae at 7:14 PM on June 19, 2013


His poor wife. She must be so overwhelmed and in such grief at the loss of the man she loved. They only married 5 years ago. God, this is sad.

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posted by discopolo at 7:22 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]



I was so happy when he had his little girl. He seemed like a guy who would make a great dad.
Now this.


He also has an older son, Michael. Not sure how old he is but he was already born when JG won the Emmy in 1999.
posted by sweetkid at 7:23 PM on June 19, 2013


Jesus Christ. Jesus Fucking Christ.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:23 PM on June 19, 2013


His role on the Sopranos was one of the most frank portrayals of mental illness. He helped to normalize an incredibly common disease.

So long and thanks for all the pesci.
posted by munchingzombie at 7:24 PM on June 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


I want to watch a bunch of old Sopranos but I kind of can't.
posted by sweetkid at 7:27 PM on June 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well this sucks.

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posted by disclaimer at 7:28 PM on June 19, 2013


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posted by glhaynes at 7:32 PM on June 19, 2013


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posted by angrycat at 7:32 PM on June 19, 2013


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posted by Palquito at 7:32 PM on June 19, 2013


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posted by ogooglebar at 7:35 PM on June 19, 2013


James Gandolfini on Inside the Actors Studio:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
posted by tzikeh at 7:38 PM on June 19, 2013 [15 favorites]


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posted by rahnefan at 7:41 PM on June 19, 2013


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I couldn't believe it either when I heard the news. Too soon by far.
posted by arcticseal at 7:43 PM on June 19, 2013


I had to seek out this fantastic scene from "In the Loop," featuring Gandolfini and Peter Capaldi.

RIP, Jim. We will miss you so very much.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 7:44 PM on June 19, 2013 [8 favorites]


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posted by learnsome at 7:45 PM on June 19, 2013


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posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 7:45 PM on June 19, 2013


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For someone who asked, I believe his older son, Michael, is around 14.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:50 PM on June 19, 2013


I want to watch a bunch of old Sopranos but I kind of can't.

I thought I might feel the same way, but then I started watching and something magical happened: I got so engrossed that I forgot. I forgot that James Gandolfini had died heartbreakingly young, I forgot that I'd just been shedding tears for his family and for the loss of a great talent, I forgot that I was watching TV, I forgot that I wasn't magically privy to the mercurial life of this sad, angry man named Tony Soprano. I just watched him. He wiped all that away from my mind in a moment.

I've seen and admired Gandolfini in several other roles (Bear in Get Shorty is particularly indelible in my memory), but having so many seasons of his masterful, nuanced performance as the complicated character of Tony Soprano is a gift for which I'm just plain grateful.
posted by Elsa at 7:51 PM on June 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


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posted by Peevish at 7:53 PM on June 19, 2013


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posted by localroger at 7:54 PM on June 19, 2013


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posted by 1367 at 7:54 PM on June 19, 2013


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posted by smoothvirus at 8:09 PM on June 19, 2013


Tony Soprano was not a sociopath.

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posted by lordaych at 8:14 PM on June 19, 2013


Ralphie OTOH...
posted by lordaych at 8:16 PM on June 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Reserved

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posted by waraw at 8:18 PM on June 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Time's TV Critic James Poniewozik:

James Gandolfini (1961-2013): As a Made Man, He Made TV Great
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:19 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


The softer side of Tony Soprano always reminded me of my dad (but you had to cross him with Al Bundy).

I could never get my head around the fact that Gandolfini was the same age as me. Great actor.
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:25 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


First time I ever saw him was in a remake of "12 Angry Men", and he was phenomenal. One year older than me, and he's gone. Life is so very fragile.

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posted by dbiedny at 8:35 PM on June 19, 2013


I've been watching the Sopranos marathon that's been airing on HBO recently, and I was thinking a few days ago about his talent in making you feel empathy for Tony, and then in the space of a few minutes feel bad for feeling that empathy. I'm really sorry to see him go.
posted by codacorolla at 8:39 PM on June 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


An amazing actor...

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posted by Benway at 8:40 PM on June 19, 2013


waraw: Reserved

Yeah, now I'm crying pretty hard.
posted by tzikeh at 8:42 PM on June 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Well that sucked. Bummer.
posted by Pudhoho at 8:45 PM on June 19, 2013


There has been a stunning amount of well produced--and sometimes failed but well-tried--TV over the last decade or so.

I hold that The Sopranos is where it all started.

What a loss.
posted by Cyrano at 8:52 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I had been a huge Sopranos fan for many years when I saw the Inside the Actor's Studio interview linked above. It was a revelation to me that the man being interviewed was absolutely nothing like the character of Tony Soprano.

I know this sounds comically naive. That's what actors do, right? But it was the magnitude of the difference between actor and character that blew me away. Everything seemed different- tone of voice, mannerisms, physical tics, timing, demeanor, etc. I realized that all subtle, non-verbal things that defined Tony Soprano were an invention and a deliberate choice.

It occurred to me that I hadn't just been watching an actor on the Sopranos all those years. I had been watching a magician.

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posted by seymourScagnetti at 8:56 PM on June 19, 2013 [17 favorites]


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posted by saslett at 9:09 PM on June 19, 2013


This is hitting surprisingly hard. I gasped and said "oh no!" loud enough the mister came running.

Godspeed, Mr. Gandolfini.
posted by deborah at 9:10 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


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posted by inpHilltr8r at 9:13 PM on June 19, 2013


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posted by CommonSense at 9:17 PM on June 19, 2013


Like many other people in this thread I am surprised by how much this affects me. I think perhaps because my understanding of what James Gandolfini did with Tony Soprano was as an artistic achievement of unusually high merit. Transcendent, actually. And to lose an artist like this at such an early age is a tragedy for us all.

And, as an aside, I always thought there was a tiny bit of Archie Bunker, especially in the physical mannerisms, in his brilliant portrayal.

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posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 9:34 PM on June 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


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posted by clockworkjoe at 9:56 PM on June 19, 2013


oooof

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posted by From Bklyn at 10:27 PM on June 19, 2013


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posted by mike3k at 10:39 PM on June 19, 2013


It was a revelation to me that the man being interviewed was absolutely nothing like the character of Tony Soprano. I know this sounds comically naive.

I hadn't watched the Sopranos (I refuse to watch anything too popular) but just last month I sat down and watched the entire series. Not only was I totally blown away, but I became deeply affected by the show.

In terms of plot, nothing spectacular happens during the course of the show, nothing that isn't completely derivative; the characters even joke about the similarities of their predicaments with their favorite gangster movies. It's all in the acting and the underlying statement about society. "We live in a time of technological and spiritual crisis," Dr. Melfi states in I think season 5. That's basically the whole ebb and flow of the show summed up in one sentence.

When Tony Soprano falls into a coma and in his dreams assumes the identity of Kevin Finnerty, losing the thick New Jersey accent, that's when I first realized what a nuanced and amazing actor Gandolfini was, how thoroughly he had made me buy into his character. Huge loss at such a young age.
posted by phaedon at 10:43 PM on June 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


A great actor and a seemingly great guy from all accounts.

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posted by Defying Gravity at 11:05 PM on June 19, 2013


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posted by Jody Tresidder at 11:44 PM on June 19, 2013


Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis. Requiescant in pace.
posted by ob1quixote at 11:58 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


He was an absolutely stunning actor in every single role. Almost always a very strong physical presence, but the most amazing things were what he could do with his voice and his eyes. A tremendous talent.
posted by heyjude at 12:28 AM on June 20, 2013


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posted by Monkeymoo at 1:17 AM on June 20, 2013


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posted by brilliantmistake at 1:33 AM on June 20, 2013


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posted by mister_kaupungister at 2:45 AM on June 20, 2013


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posted by Gelatin at 2:55 AM on June 20, 2013


Way too soon. So very sad.

I saw him most recently in the movie he did with Kristen Stewart and Melissa Leo, Welcome to the Rileys. His character was so real; I felt what he was feeling through the screen and I'm glad I got to watch the Actors Studio interview where he said that he had to have a believable backstory for every character he inhabited because that's what came across so well - everyone he played seemed true.
posted by h00py at 4:15 AM on June 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


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posted by Wordshore at 5:29 AM on June 20, 2013


I burst into tears when I heard this. What a skilled actor and seemed like a great man.

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posted by getawaysticks at 5:44 AM on June 20, 2013


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posted by royals at 6:13 AM on June 20, 2013


“And the Romans, where are they now?”
“You’re looking at ‘em, asshole.”

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posted by clavdivs at 6:49 AM on June 20, 2013 [9 favorites]


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posted by oneironaut at 6:51 AM on June 20, 2013


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posted by mrgroweler at 6:51 AM on June 20, 2013




A little tangential but it reminds me of Ed Wynn in The Twilight Zone's "One for the Angels." He couldn't die until after he made the perfect pitch.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:27 AM on June 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


A rare picture of his life before Tony.

Then there is Jim Gandolfini, who seems to thrive on the apartment-hopping life. Since moving to New York City four years ago, Mr. Gandolfini, 26 years old, has never had his name on a lease, never paid more than $400 a month in rent and never lived in one place more than 10 months. His wanderer's existence has given him sojourns, some as brief as two months, in Hoboken, N.J.; Astoria, Queens; Clinton and the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and Park Slope and Flatbush in Brooklyn.

''MOVING, to me, is no big deal,'' said Mr. Gandolfini, whose calling is the theater but whose living comes mostly from bartending and construction. ''I have a system down. I throw everything in plastic garbage bags and can be situated in my new place in minutes. Without my name on a lease, I'm in and out. I have no responsibilities.''


RIP.
posted by BibiRose at 7:47 AM on June 20, 2013 [13 favorites]


In the mid 90s I used to deliver food to him occasionally from a diner where I worked in the East Village. He lived upstairs. Nice guy.
posted by Liquidwolf at 8:08 AM on June 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


A rare picture of his life before Tony.

Oh man, that is just adorable. So many feels.
posted by sweetkid at 8:19 AM on June 20, 2013


A rare picture of his life before Tony.

I just finished reading that very article before reloading this page again and seeing what you said there. For a moment, I thought you may have had a link to an actual picture. I felt that after reading the NYT piece that I'd love to see an actual picture of 26yro Jim Gandolfini, pouring a drink, with a big ol' grin on his face! One has to exist! Maybe? :(

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posted by mrzer0 at 8:27 AM on June 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Died at age 51 from a heart-attack. Left behind an infant daughter. What a crying shame. :/
Obesity kills.

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posted by ruelle at 8:38 AM on June 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


Like this couldn't get any more heartbreaking: "Gandolfini's 13-year-old son, Michael, discovered his father having a heart attack at about 10 p.m. local time (4 p.m. ET) Wednesday and called for help. [...] Gandolfini was in Italy to have 'a guy's trip' with his son before attending the Taormina Film Festival in Sicily."

No, that's not dust in my eye, I'm just crying my guts out.
posted by scody at 9:04 AM on June 20, 2013


What are ya gonna do? :(

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posted by luckynerd at 9:30 AM on June 20, 2013


A friend of a friend was a writer for the show. This is what he had to say about James Gandolfini:
It's weird to talk about private matters on a public forum like Facebook. At least it is for me. But Jim Gandolfini was a public figure, whether he liked it or not (and he often didn't). He obviously changed TV forever, the critics will roll out tributes in the next few days that will testify to that fact, again and again. He was an enormously gifted actor.

But to those of us who worked on the show his real legacy might be that he was responsible for bonding all of us- cast and crew - for life. That's an enormous gift to have given all of us. Jim set the tone and created an atmosphere that was truly special, and completely unlike anything else I've ever experienced on any other job. Jim always told me that if I wrote a book about our time there he'd write the forward. I wish I had taken him up on that.

Death is always somewhat bittersweet in that in brings a family together in celebration as well as mourning. Wagons are circled, stories are told, memories are cherished. And we could tell stories. My GOD, could we tell stories.

But in the end, the reason those people gather is because of love. Love of each other, and love for those lost.

Here's to a sweet, funny, kind, generous, troubled, talented, gifted, huge-hearted man. We're all better for knowing you. Thanks, Jim. You did good. You did lots of good.
posted by MsVader at 9:33 AM on June 20, 2013 [17 favorites]


He was gifted throughout his career, and from everyone who knew him says, also a sweet and funny and kind man. I am very glad he got the Tony Soprano role and the recognition he deserved as a truly great actor, and incredibly sorry we won't have the treat of seeing and hearing him again. Condolences to his beautiful family and his friends and all the sincere admirers of his talent and craft.

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posted by bearwife at 9:36 AM on June 20, 2013


Anybody who had even the slightest contact with Gandolfini will testify to what a great guy he was, how full of life he was, how extraordinary he made other people feel. Yes, absolutely, he had problems -- with drink, with drugs, with women, probably with lots of other things, for all we know -- but so does everybody, to one degree or another. But whether he was feeling well or poorly, or living smartly or stupidly, there was always something about the guy that you wanted to embrace. You could feel it shining through the screen, that warmth and vulnerability, that broken yet still-hopeful humanness.

That’s what made Tony Soprano, a bully and killer and cheater and disgusting hypocrite, so likable. The decent part of Tony, the part that stood in for the tragically wasted human potential Dr. Melfi kept trying to tease out and embrace, came from Gandolfini. His humanity shone through Tony’s rotten façade. When people said they sensed good in Tony, it was James Gandolfini they sensed.
posted by scody at 10:47 AM on June 20, 2013 [5 favorites]


GQ: The Night Tony Soprano Disappeared
posted by zarq at 11:37 AM on June 20, 2013 [6 favorites]




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posted by Cpt. The Mango at 12:24 PM on June 20, 2013


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posted by NordyneDefenceDynamics at 4:58 PM on June 20, 2013


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posted by Minus215Cee at 6:24 PM on June 20, 2013


Oh my god from Zarq's link:
Then, on day four, the main number in the show's production office rang. It was Gandolfini calling, from a beauty salon in Brooklyn. To the surprise of the owner, the actor had wandered in off the street, asking to use the phone. He called the only number he could remember, and he asked the production assistant who answered to put someone on who could send a car to take him home.
Maybe if Gandolfini hadn't been so gosh darn lovable, maybe if he'd been a gangly nerd like Stephen King, somewhere along the way someone might have staged a messy intervention and maybe he'd have lived to get hit by a van or something.

It's been mentioned a couple of times -- but only a couple in an ocean of dots and wails, and very tentatively, that anyone with any sensitivity to health issues could tell Gandolfini had potential problems. He was obviously comfortable in his skin and probably disarmed anyone who brought it up with a quick anecdote and friendly laugh.

I wonder if a less famous and personable alternate Gandolfini, perhaps one whose life he dreamed as he was dying, might have gone in for a checkup and had an angiogram last year.
posted by localroger at 6:39 PM on June 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


I just came across some pictures of him from when he was much younger: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2345094/James-Gandolfinis-early-years-growing-New-Jersey.html
posted by mrzer0 at 10:32 AM on June 21, 2013


Appreciating Gandolfini's film career:

Not Fade Away and Where the Wild Things Are.
Romance and Cigarettes.
Three Scenes from The Man Who Wasn't There.
The unmade Sopranos film.
Perdita Durango.

Violet and Daisy.

("On the one hand, [Violet and Daisy] was an unworthy farewell for one of the great actors of his generation; the film is a forgettable, derivative indie about a pair of quirky hit women. On the other hand, it’s an incredibly fitting curtain call; iconic on television for The Sopranos, Gandolfini’s film career was often defined by being the best part of not-so-great movies.")
posted by Iridic at 11:13 AM on June 21, 2013




One of the many things I liked about James Gandolfini is that he kept his authentic looks, as he really was, didn't get his teeth fixed even when he was globally famous.
posted by nickyskye at 11:14 AM on June 22, 2013


One of the many things I liked about James Gandolfini is that he kept his authentic looks, as he really was, didn't get his teeth fixed even when he was globally famous.

'Cos he was an actor, not a film star. Respect.
posted by Artw at 11:18 AM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm late to the wake, but holy fuck. After years of meaning to watch it, I went right through all six Sopranos seasons over the past month and a half. I finished it late the other night and spent the entire next day at work deliberating the ending - did he die or what?

On the ride home that day my co-worker looked back at me and casually said "So Tony Soprano died hey?" I spat juice in his face and thought he was fucking with me. Not so.

But as great as the show was, for me it'll always be his performance in In The Loop that I remember him for.
posted by mannequito at 2:17 AM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


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