Actor extraordinaire James Gandolfini’s sudden passing in Italy on Wednesday shocked me, your mama, and the millions of other people who tuned into The Sopranos or saw any one of the notable movies (Get Shorty, Zero Dark Thirty, 8MM, The Mexican, Killing Them Softly etc.) he starred in.
Gandolfini worked with everyone from Brad Pitt (who called him a “gentle soul and a genuinely funny man” in a statement), to John Travolta to younger actresses like Kristen Stewart, Olivia Wilde and Saoirse Ronan.
Perhaps most taken aback, with the largest outpour of kind messages, his Sopranos’ family helmed by Edie Falco, Robert Iler and Jamie-Lynn Sigler, who played his wife, son and daughter on the hit show.
Falco said she was “devastated” by the news, calling the love between Tony and Carmela “the greatest I’ve ever known,” while Sigler (Meadow Soprano) released the following words to Us Weekly:
I spent 10 years of my life studying and admiring one of the most brilliant actors, yes, but more importantly, one of the greatest men. Jim had the ability, unbeknownst to him, to make you feel like everything would be alright if he was around. I treasure my memories with him and feel so honored that I was an up close witness to his greatness.
Meanwhile, his fictional son, Robert Iler, who was famously arrested in 2001 for armed robbery, wrote “I haven’t cried in years and now I can’t stop … Please tell me this is all a bad dream … I love you so much james and always will,” on his Facebook page.
Desperate Housewives and Sons of Anarchy star Drea de Matteo, who also played the sympathy-inducing snitch Adriana on The Sopranos, called Gandolfini “a king” with a “presence that could shatter planets.”
The show’s creator, David Chase, had this to say:
He was a genius. Anyone who saw him even in the smallest of his performances knows that. He is one of the greatest actors of this or any time. A great deal of that genius resided in those sad eyes. I remember telling him many times, ‘You don’t get it. You’re like Mozart” There would be silence at the other end of the phone. For Deborah and Michael and Liliana this is crushing. And it’s bad for the rest of the world. He wasn’t easy sometimes. But he was my partner, he was my brother in ways I can’t explain and never will be able to explain.
Twitter was predictably flooded with sweet messages from notable actors and musicians…