BY ADEYEMI OSHUNRINADE
June 20, 2013
Best known as Tony Soprano in the HBO series “The Sopranos.” James Gandolfini was an actor his audience can’t get enough of, with his role as a mob boss, Gandolfini brought to the TV screen memories of the “God Father,” one of the greatest crime stories in Hollywood history. With more than 50 movies to his credit, the death of the actor known as a TV mob boss, who gave adversaries or whoever crossed the line offers they can’t refuse, came as a shock to Hollywood and his audiences, who looked forward to more acting by the actor.
Born on September 18, 1961, in Westwood, New Jersey, Gandolfini graduated from Rutgers University and while he struggled to find a career, worked as a bartender and a bouncer in New York before he met a friend that took him to an acting class. Gandolfini’s death at 51 came untimely on June 19, 2013, while vacationing in Rome, where he planned to attend the Taormina Film Festival in Sicily and take part in an onstage conversation with Italian director Gabriele Muccino.
Early reports suggest the actor died of acute myocardial infection or a stroke but as autopsy is on the way to know the real cause of death, his managers said it was possible Gandolfini died of a heart attack. “It is with immense sorrow that we report our client, James Gandolfini, passed away today while on holiday in Rome, Italy,” said Mark Armstrong and Nancy Sanders, Gandolfini’s managers. “Our hearts are shattered and we will miss him deeply. He and his family were part of our family for many years and we’re all grieving.”
Gandolfini’ role in the Sopranos as a New Jersey mob boss brought him fame when the series debuted in 1999. The role won him three Emmys for “Best Actor in a Drama,” who questions his identity and purpose. He earned $1,000,000 per episode in the series, while an estimated $200,000,000 was also paid for a rerun of the entire Soprano series on TV. Before his death Gandolfini, got listed as the 42nd Greatest TV Icon of All Time by Entertainment Weekly.
Prior to his role in The Sopranos, Gandolfini performed in a 1992 Broadway production, “On the Water Front.” In the 1993 film “True Romance,” a crime movie directed by Tony Scott and written by Quentin Terantino, he played the role of “Vigil,” a woman-beating mob enforcer. When prompted about his role in the film, Gandolfini said one of his greatest inspirations for the role, was an old friend of his, who was a hitman. Many in the film industry believe the role launched him as a leading actor in crime scenes and one that inspired him to take up the leading role of a mobster in The Sopranos.
In the 1994 film “Terminal Velocity,” Gandolfini was Ben Pinkwater, an insurance man who was also a violent Russian mobster. In the film written by David Tworhy and directed by Deran Sarafian, Gandolfini played along Charlie Sheen, a daredevil skydiver who got mixed up with Russian spies. In the 1995 film “Get Shortly,” Gandolfini acted as a bearded ex-stuntman with a Southern ascent, and in “The Juror” (1996), a romantic thriller based on the 1995 book by George Dawes Green and directed by Brian Gibson, Gandolfini played the role of a mob enforcer with a conscience. The actor also played the Mayor of New York, in the 2009 remake of “The Taking of Pelham,” a thriller directed by Tony Scott, Starring Denzel Washington and John Travolta.
In 2007, Gandolfini returned to HBO as the executive producer of the documentary, Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq, known as his first project after The Sopranos and the first project for his company Attaboy Films, opened in 2006 with Alexandra Ryan. In June 2010, news came out the actor would be executive producing a HBO film about Ernest Hemingway and his relationship with Martha Gellhorn, titled “Hemingway and Gellhorn,” starring Clive Owen and Nicole Kidman.
While Gandolfini was known as a ruthless and tough mobster no one dared cross path with, he would be remembered by many in Hollywood as a creative actor who turned every role he played into reality. Gandolfini was astounding in his latest film “Zero Dark Thirty,” which got nominated for the Oscar. “He was just so good at the emotion. A very passionate man and a very, very tender man,” said Mathew Warchus, on CNN. Warchus directed Gandolfini in the 2009 Broadway show “God of Carnage.”
Dr. Adeyemi Oshunrinade [E. JD] is the author of ‘Wills Law and Contests,’ ‘Constitutional Law-First Amendment’ and ‘SAVING LOVE’ available at http://www.amazon.com/author/adeyemioshunrinade. Follow on Twitter @san0670.
- James Gandolfini, ‘Sopranos’ star, dead At 51 (troyrecord.com)
- James Gandolfini, star of The Sopranos, dies in Italy (telegraph.co.uk)
- “Sopranos” Gandolfini dies of heart attack (qctimes.com)
- James Gandolfini Dead At 51 (y98.cbslocal.com)
- James Gandolfini, who portrayed Tony Soprano, dies at 51 (whas11.com)
- James Gandolfini Dead — ‘Tony Soprano’ Actor Dies in Italy (tmz.com)
- “Sopranos” Actor James Gandolfini Dead At 51 (miami.cbslocal.com)
- ‘Soprano’ star James Gandolfini dead at 51 (khou.com)
- ‘Tony Soprano’ Actor James Gandolfini Dies: Report (ktla.com)
- James Gandolfini, Actor Who Played Tony Soprano on ‘The Sopranos’ (1961-2013) (laughingsquid.com)