I was on Twitter early this afternoon when news of Gandolfini’s sudden death in Italy broke. There was an immediate outpouring from his fellow actors but also from us regular folks. Everyone was surprised and saddened.
I don’t pretend to be a Gandolfini aficionado; I didn’t see him on Broadway or even watch some of his movies. But “The Sopranos” was one of my all-time favorite shows – appointment television on Sunday nights – and he inhabited the character of Tony Soprano like no other TV actor has ever become his character, except maybe Carroll O’Connor as Archie Bunker. When HBO aired the show’s finale, I couldn’t stand that Tony and the others were gone forever.
And now Gandolfini is gone too. I’ve been thinking back tonight on all the best scenes from the show. There were so many and he was in every one. He had the ability to turn a killer into someone you actually root for – no small feat. He left an indelible mark on popular culture and New Jersey will never be the same.