Wednesday, June 19, 2013

In Memoriam: James Gandolfini

The man best known for playing mob boss Tony Soprano on one of the biggest dramas of all time passed away today.  Gandolfini died of a massive heart attack at the age of 51, in Italy.  Gandolfini's role as the manic mafia boss who saw a shrink is one of the most indelible television characters of all time. The role earned him many accolades including the Golden Globe 3 Primetime Emmy Awards, the Screen Actor's Guild Award, the Television Critics Award (and many more).  Yet Gandolfini was more than Tony Soprano.

Gandolfini was one of the most talented character actors who worked in not just television, but film, and theatre.  Gandolfini wore many roles from the dark comedic kind in The Mexican (2001) or In the Loop (2009).  Gandolfini also was great in doing a lot with a little like in this past year's Best Picture nominee Zero Dark Thirty.  Gandolfini was also spectacular in the Broadway play Gods of Carnage which blended his strengths of humor and darkness.

Gandolfini was not Tony Soprano, just to clear up any confusion; he was a shy quieter man who never really liked the spotlight, or so it seemed from interviews he gave.  Interestingly enough this man became a phenomenon through just one role, and while he had great range and did much more, Tony Soprano will remain one of the greatest television characters ever.

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