Loading…
Saturday, September 20, 2014
Current Weather
Loading Current Weather....
HomeA&E
Published: Thursday, 6/27/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

Actor James Gandolfini's funeral today

'The Sopranos' creator speaks at service in New York City

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Actor James Gandolfini Actor James Gandolfini
ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge

NEW YORK — The creator of “The Sopranos” said at James Gandolfini’s funeral that the actor brought the traits of a sad boy, “amazed and confused,” to the role of Tony Soprano.

“You were a good boy,” David Chase said today at the ceremony at New York’s Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine.

One of four speakers at the funeral, Chase gave his remarks in the form of a letter to Gandolfini, in the present tense. The actor’s widow, Deborah Lin Gandolfini, and two family friends, were also speakers at the ceremony.

Chase remembered that Gandolfini once told him that “you know what I want to be? A man. That’s all. I want to be a man.” Chase said he marveled upon hearing that, since Gandolfini represented a man so many others wanted to be.

Paradoxically, Chase said he always felt he was seeing a young boy.

“A sad boy, amazed and confused,” he said. “You could see it in your eyes. That’s why you were a great actor.”

The 51-year-old actor best known for his role as mob boss Tony Soprano in the HBO series died of a heart attack last week while vacationing with his son in Italy.

Celebrities and fellow actors were in the audience, along with members of the public who wanted to salute Gandolfini’s work.

From “The Sopranos” was Edie Falco, Joe Pantoliano, Dominic Chianese, Steve Schirripa, Aida Turturro, Vincent Curatola and Michael Imperioli. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie made an appearance. Dick Cavett chatted with actor Steve Buscemi near the front of the church before the ceremony started.

Some 1,500 seats had been set up. A private family wake was held for the actor Wednesday in New Jersey.

Susan Anton, who was Gandolfini’s longtime dialogue coach and collaborator, spoke of how the actor struggled with his work.

“He worked hard,” Anton said. “He was disciplined. He studied his roles and did his homework.” But when the cameras rolled, his work was an act of faith that carried him to an uncharted place, she said.

New Jersey accents were easy to hear among members of the public waiting outside the cathedral and waiting for a chance to get in. A few people spoke in Italian.

“I’m a fan,” said Saul Stein, 60, from Harlem. “I came to pay my respects today because he’s a character I identify with, a family man.”

One casual meeting with Gandolfini was enough to bring Robin Eckstein to the funeral.

“I had friends that worked with him,” she said. “I had the pleasure of meeting him a few times and he was just lovely. So warm ... As soon as he knew you were a friend of a friend you were his friend too. He’ll be missed. I missed a meeting at work today. I told them I had a funeral to go to.”

Broadway theaters paid tribute by dimming their lights briefly Wednesday night. Gandolfini was nominated for a Tony Award in 2009 as an actor in “God of Carnage.”



Guidelines: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. If a comment violates these standards or our privacy statement or visitor's agreement, click the "X" in the upper right corner of the comment box to report abuse. To post comments, you must be a Facebook member. To find out more, please visit the FAQ.

Related stories







Poll