Jun 20, 2013
By Jane Brown
Sopranos creator David Chase says James Gandolfini was a genius. Best known for playing Tony Soprano on the hit television series, James Gandolfini died yesterday while vacationing in Italy. He was only 51. Hospital officials in Rome say he suffered cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead last night after resusitation efforts in the ambulance and hospital failed.
There was quick reaction from his “Sopranos” co-stars. Lorraine Bracco says she’s “heartbroken”. Steven Van Zandt says the “world has lost one of the greatest actors of all time.”
Gandolfini became famous as Tony Soprano, a New Jersey mob boss with mental health issues he tries to conceal. The Sopranos ran from 1999 to 2007. His work won him three Emmys, a Golden Globe, and several other awards. Prior to the success of The Sopranos, Gandolfini had already built a respected career on stage and screen. His first big break came in a revival of “A Streetcar Named Desire” when he played opposite Alec Baldwin as one of “Stanley Kowalski’s” poker buddies.
Gandolfini was scheduled to teach a class and receive an award at a film festival in Sicily on Saturday. Organizers of the festival are now rushing to put together a tribute to the career of James Gandolfini.