News / Arts & Entertainment

Family, Friends, Fans Attend Funeral of 'Sopranos' Star Gandolfini

Actor James Gandolfini arrives at the BAFTA Brits to Watch event in Los Angeles, California, July 9, 2011.
Actor James Gandolfini arrives at the BAFTA Brits to Watch event in Los Angeles, California, July 9, 2011.
Reuters
— Family, friends and fans of actor James Gandolfini gathered at a Manhattan cathedral for his funeral on Thursday, a week after the 51-year-old star of the HBO television show “The Sopranos” died of a heart attack while visiting Rome.

Police set up barricades in front of the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in upper Manhattan as fans waited to get a glimpse of mourners of the actor whose performance as the burly, cigar-smoking New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano made him a household name.

“He was just so friendly and sweet and humble,” actress Laila Robins, who played Tony Soprano's mother as a young woman in the early seasons of the show, said as she arrived for the funeral.

“He had an acting coach on set back then because he just wanted to do a good job. That was so sweet, and I remember that about him the most - just how badly he wanted to do a good job. He worked so hard.”

The dean of the cathedral, the Very Reverend Dr. James A. Kowalski, will lead the 90-minute ceremony, HBO said in a statement. The actor's wife, Deborah Lin Gandolfini, will give a remembrance, along with friends Thomas Richardson, Susan Aston and David Chase, the creator and executive producer of “The Sopranos.

A mourner weeps outside the funeral services of James Gandolfini at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in New York, June 27, 2013.A mourner weeps outside the funeral services of James Gandolfini at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in New York, June 27, 2013.
x
A mourner weeps outside the funeral services of James Gandolfini at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in New York, June 27, 2013.
A mourner weeps outside the funeral services of James Gandolfini at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in New York, June 27, 2013.
On Wednesday about 100 people attended a private wake for the actor in New Jersey. Gandolfini, who was raised in a working-class neighborhood, shared Tony Soprano's Italian-American heritage and New Jersey roots.

Broadway theaters dimmed their marquees on Wednesday night in memory of the actor, who also had a successful stage career.

Gandolfini collapsed in the bathroom of his hotel room in Rome while vacationing with his 13-year-old son, Michael. He had been scheduled to attend the closing of the Taormina Film Festival in Sicily. He body was flown to the United States on Sunday.

Gandolfini's portrayal of a gangster who ordered hits on his enemies and saw a therapist to talk about his insecurities, is the signature role of his career.

The role won him three Emmy Awards as best actor in a drama series. The show ran for six seasons.

In 2009 Gandolfini was nominated for a Tony Award for his role in “God of Carnage.” He also appeared in “On the Waterfront” in 1995 and “A Streetcar Named Desire” in 1992.

The actor had been working on an upcoming HBO series, “Criminal Justice, and has two films due out next year. He also appeared in the crime drama “Killing Them Softly” and “Zero Dark Thirty, a film about the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

Apart from his son Michael with his first wife, who he divorced in 2002, Gandolfini is survived by his wife and daughter Liliana, who was born last year.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Soul Lounge

New Orleans-based Water Seed joins Shawna Renee inside the "Soul Lounge" where they introduce listeners to their latest album, a wonderful fusion of jazz, soul and rhythm & blues. The group also explains how the heart of New Orleans influences each of them as musicians and songwriters.