By ROBERT CAPEHERT
James Gandolfini, tv’s celebrated mob boss on HBO’s The Soprano’s, and hulking character actor exemplar, died suddenly, of a heart attack, June 19. He was 51.
The celebrated actor, who garnered a million dollars an episode throughout much of The Soprano’s television run, was vacationing with his son in Rome, Italy.
An HBO spokesperson said Gandolfini was scheduled to attend a film festival in Sicily with his son. According to reports, The Soprano’s star was found unresponsive by his son in the actor’s bathroom suit.
Gandolfini was still alive when emergency responders got to him, but died on the way to the hospital. Emergency officials tried to resuscitate the heavyset star for more than 40 minutes. An autopsy performed Friday morning confirmed Gandolfini died of a heart attack.
The actor leaves behind a wife, Deborah Lin, a newly born daughter, and 11-year-old son.
Born in New Jersey, in 1961, Gandolfini came up the hard way. With a Jersey accent; the modest touches of character actor looks, and resolute charm, Gandolfini was an unusual star. But his ability to channel the most cliché of parts, a mobster, with soul and depth of feeling, carried Tony Soprano and Gandolfini to superstardom.
Throughout the show’s 6-½ year run, The Soprano’s became a cultural icon across America and turned HBO into a stellar cinematic television-making network.
The Soprano’s cinematic flavour, an episodic mosaic, which felt more like cinema than television, allowed HBO to green-light more artsy and risky programming. Several writers on The Soprano’s, including Michael Weiner and Terrence Winter went onto create successful dramatic series of their own, namely Mad Men and HBO’s Boardwalk Empire.
An HBO pilot series headlined by James Gandolfini was in the works.
Numerous Hollywood and television personalities eulogised Gandolfini throughout the week of his passing. Everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, expressed condolences to the actor’s family and recounted found memories of the actor.
Gandolfini was also a sought-after character actor in movies like Get Shorty, True Romance, and recently appearing in, Killing Me Softly, starring Brad Pitt, and Zero Dark Thirty.
Gandolfini, said to have been soft-spoken, but often playing brutal men with a conscious, had two films completed at the time of his death.
Those films should be released in the coming year. Gandolfini’s body, still in Rome, will be released within the week for a funeral in New York.