James Gandolfini passed away yesterday at the age of 51. He was in Rome when he died, and reports are that he had a sudden, massive heart attack. His loss is tragic, because he was an actor whose skills dwarfed so many others. Whenever he was on-screen in The Sopranos, he forced you to watch him by dint of his sheer charisma. It wasn’t just the big expressions, though — I will always remember a scene between Tony and Dr. Melfi where not a word was said, but Gandolfini made the scene come alive as he picked at his pants and shifted in his seat.
I found myself saddened last night as the news broke on his death, in a way that doesn’t normally happen when I hear about celebrities dying. That tells me that I respected his talent in a way I rarely do others.
Rest in Peace, sir. You will be missed.