James Gandolfini leaves an indelible mark on us
James Gandolfini didn’t just play Tony Soprano, he WAS Tony Soprano.
Not too bright bookwise, but oh so smart streetwise, we feared Tony, yet we loved him.
It was an absolute shock to the system to learn that James Gandolfini died in Italy yesterday at the age of 51. His untimely departure leaves a hole in our hearts. It’s as if a good friend is gone and much too soon.
As the beleaguered head of a Mafia crime family on The Sopranos, Tony loved a good bowl of ziti as much as he loved the ladies. He lived by his own code of honor where violence and murder were part of everyday life. But he would explode if someone was cruel to an animal or a defenseless woman.
Tony once said “I’m like King Midas in reverse. Everything I touch turns to s–t.”
But James Gandolfini had the golden touch. He was so brilliant and natural, he never seemed like he was acting. When you looked into his eyes you felt you knew exactly what was behind them. He WAS Tony Soprano. That was his gift.
The last actor on TV who had that same uncanny ability was Carroll O’Connor as Archie Bunker on All In The Family.
Both actors would play other roles over the course of their careers, and they would play those roles well, but they left indelible marks as Tony and Archie.
I’d like to think the two of them are together, somewhere in the heavens, having a drink at Kelcy’s Bar and a grinder at Satriale’s Pork Store. With both of them, in the end, sharing a hearty laugh.
Rest in peace.