It’s been a decade since the world lost one of the most iconic actors of our time. James Gandolfini, who played the complex and charismatic mob boss Tony Soprano on the HBO series The Sopranos, died on June 19, 2013, at the age of 51, after suffering a heart attack in Rome while on vacation with his son Michael.
Gandolfini’s sudden and tragic death shocked and saddened his fans, friends, and colleagues, who remembered him as a generous, kind, and talented person who was at odds with his fame and followed his instincts. His co-stars from The Sopranos, such as Michael Imperioli, Edie Falco, Joe Pantoliano, and Lorraine Bracco, paid tribute to him on the 10-year anniversary of his passing, sharing their favorite memories and expressing their gratitude for working with him.
“It’s so very strange that it’s 10 years today since you left us. Would love to have shot one more scene or had another laugh or one more late night chat. Forever grateful to have done so much work together, to have spent so much time in your company and for all the generosity and kindness,” Imperioli wrote on Instagram, posting a photo of himself with Gandolfini as Batman and Robin.
Falco, who played Tony’s wife Carmela Soprano, praised Gandolfini’s acting skills and professionalism in an interview with Vanity Fair. “He didn’t let himself get bossed around by a lot of the things that I let walk me around—this good-student mentality. I always had to get the lines just right and do the blocking exactly the same every time. And I would watch him, and he was following something…bigger. And deeper. If he had an impulse to say something a little different, or to change the blocking, he just did it,” she said.
Pantoliano, who played Ralph Cifaretto, recalled Gandolfini’s kindness and humility on his first day on the set of The Sopranos. “He looked me in the eye and he said, ‘Listen, it’s an honor and a pleasure to be working with you.’ It’s very hard for an actor coming into a show—a lot of actors are day players, or they’re on an episode with two scenes. But he always went out of his way to make sure that everybody was comfortable,” he told Vanity Fair.
Gandolfini won three Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award for his performance as Tony Soprano, a role that redefined television drama and influenced a generation of actors and writers. He also starred in several movies, such as True Romance, Get Shorty, The Mexican, Zero Dark Thirty, and Enough Said. His last film was Enough Said, a romantic comedy with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, which was released posthumously in 2013 and earned him critical acclaim.
“I wish he was still alive. I miss that guy,” Louis-Dreyfus said of Gandolfini.
Gandolfini’s legacy lives on through his son Michael Gandolfini, who honored his father on Father’s Day and also played a young Tony in the prequel film Many Saints of Newark, which is set to be released on September 24, 2021.
“Happy Father’s Day Dad. I love you. Today, tomorrow, and everyday. I miss you, I love you,” Michael wrote on Instagram.
James Gandolfini was a beloved actor who left an indelible mark on the history of television and cinema. He will always be remembered as the man who brought Tony Soprano to life with his charisma, complexity, and humanity.
– James Gandolfini Remembered By ‘The Sopranos’ Co-Stars On 10-Year Anniversary Of His Death, Yahoo Entertainment, June 19, 2023
– Sopranos cast pay tribute to James Gandolfini on 10th anniversary of his death, The Irish News, June 20, 2023
– Michael Imperioli remembers James Gandolfini’s ‘generosity and kindness’ 10 years after his death, Entertainment Weekly, June 19, 2023