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

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

The Hamilton Live

Trumpeter, percussionist and bandleader Etienne Charles was born in Trinidad and blends island rhythms with modern jazz. He and his stellar band perform a rich gumbo of jazz, calypso, reggae, and rock-steady that Charles calls “Creole Soul” on "The Hamilton Live."