As you are reading this story, there’s a good chance that you have already heard the news that James Gandolfini has passed away of a sudden heart attack at the age of 51. It almost seems redundant to get into so many details that you have read elsewhere, whether it be that he starred in one of the most-popular series of all time in “The Sopranos,” or that his film work is stuff that legends are made of. He was a fantastic actor and a man who can never be forgotten as one of the greats.
But what I want to do in this article is go a little personal, and do this a little differently than most other sites. I can never sit here and say that I watched “The Sopranos” from beginning to end. I didn’t. I didn’t have HBO at the time, and it ended just about the time that I started diving into the business of television and writing about it. The biggest memory comes to me when that screen faded to black , and even then the internet exploded.
The end to this series was a Twitter moment before Twitter was even a word anyone understood, and it helped me to understand just what sort of power the internet can have to facilitate discussion, and truly that the love of TV can spread through generations and all over the world. We grow to love the characters and root for them, and we grow to love the men and women who play them. Everyone who watched “The Sopranos” loved Tony, and consider him to be one of the greatest actors of the generation.
I currently have the complete series of the show sitting on my bookshelf, and I’ve caught bits and pieces of the series over the years just to understand what it really met to so many people. The tragedy here goes beyond just losing this man; it’s losing what could have been. Whether it was his current HBO projects or others that he could have made, we no longer know just how his resume could have expanded if his life was not cut so short. Now, all we have left are tapes and DVDs, and the knowledge that both myself along with future generations will have an opportunity to watch this series in full, only to make the sad realization that he is now gone. His spirit will move through actors who studied him, but his final credit has now hit the screen.
Sincere thoughts to all who loved James. He was more than a actor to me; he was the benchmark to what all TV leading men can be.
-Matt Carter, CarterMatt.com co-creator / editor-in-chief