As everyone knows by now, James Gandolfini died suddenly on Wednesday in Italy. I was so sad when I heard last night. He was only 51 years old, and a father to two children, Michael aged 13 and Liliana who is just nine months old.
I first saw Gandolfini in his amazing role in True Romance where he and Patricia Arquette go head to head in one of the bloodiest fights between a man and a woman in cinematic history. I was an enormous fan of The Sopranos, a series which I have watched in its entirety at least three times. In Tony Soprano Gandolfini created a nuanced and layered character, contradictory in many ways – complicated, vulnerable, smart, menacing, paternal – and it is for this role that he will surely be remembered. However there are many other roles in his filmography in which he excels, including Lt. Gen. George Miller in In The Loop, Colonel Winter in The Last Castle, Lt. Bobby Dougherty in Crimson Tide, and most recently Mickey in Killing Them Softly.
There has been an outpouring of sympathy from the acting community on Twitter. Gandolfini was an actor’s actor, someone who was well respected and admired, but also liked and loved for his warm personality. He will be missed by the film community and audiences around the world.
Here’s a wonderful interview from 2009 with Gandolfini on Inside The Actor’s Studio.