Critics, Celebrities Mourn Gandolfini's Death

The sudden, unexpected death of James Gandolfini, the actor who forever will be known as mob boss Tony Soprano, generated grief so great that many news outlets dedicated their resources to collecting comments and reactions. Television critics-some friends of his-posted tributes to the late actor, while costars and fellow actors commented following his death. The following are a sampling of tributes and quotes, compiled by B&C.

“As the star of The Sopranos, what was so amazing about Gandolfini wasn’t so much the way he looked - TV had had overweight and/or balding leading men before (and at the start, Tony wasn’t that big) - but the way that he acted.”

Alan Sepinwall, HitFix

“Having his life cut short also ensures his signature role - as the conflicted, therapy-seeking mob boss Tony Soprano - will forever be indelibly etched to him, as if there was anything that could erase the connection, in the same way Carroll O’Connor will always be Archie Bunker.”

Brian Lowry, Variety

“Like that final scene, Gandolfini’s potential was cut short. But his accomplishment, and the way he expanded the possibilities of his medium and his craft: it goes on and on and on and on.”

James Poniewozik, TIME

“Anybody who had even the slightest contact with Gandolfini will testify to what a great guy he was, how full of life he was, how extraordinary he made other people feel… But whether he was feeling well or poorly, or living smartly or stupidly, there was always something about the guy that you wanted to embrace.”

Matt Zoller Seitz, Vulture

“It’s a terrible loss for the acting world. Gandolfini was memorable in pretty much everything he did but will forever be seen as Tony Soprano. It was a role he completely inhabited, a hulking presence able to be project menace and kindness in equal measures.”
–Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter

“It is with immense sorrow that we report our client James Gandolfini passed away [Wednesday] while on holiday in Rome, Italy. Our hearts are shattered and we will miss him deeply.  He and his family were part of our family for many years and we are all grieving.”

–Mark Armstrong and Nancy Sanders, Sanders/Armstrong/Caserta Management

“He was a genius. Anyone who saw him even in the smallest of his performances knows that. He is one of the greatest actors of this or any time. A great deal of that genius resided in those sad eyes. I remember telling him many times, ‘You don’t get it. You’re like Mozart.’ There would be silence at the other end of the phone. For Deborah and Michael and Liliana this is crushing. And it’s bad for the rest of the world. He wasn’t easy sometimes. But he was my partner, he was my brother in ways I can’t explain and never will be able to explain.”

– David Chase, creator and executive producer, HBO’s The Sopranos

“I am shocked and devastated by Jim’s passing. He was a man of tremendous depth and sensitivity, with a kindness and generosity beyond words. I consider myself very lucky to have spent 10 years as his close colleague. My heart goes out to his family. As those of us in his pretend one hold on to the memories of our intense and beautiful time together. The love between Tony and Carmela was one of the greatest I’ve ever known.”

–Edie Falco, costar, The Sopranos

“This is the loss of a glowing light, an instinctive actor and the type of person who you never got tired of talking to. Since 1998, my work with him grew into a second skin. The words in our scenes together would change but the mutual respect would never change.”

–Vincent Curatola, costar, The Sopranos

“I have lost a brother and a best friend. The world has lost one of the greatest actors of all time. Maureen and I send our deepest sympathy and love to Deborah, Michael, Lily, and all of Jimmy’s family.”

–Steven Van Zandt, costar, The Sopranos

“We lost a giant today. I am utterly heartbroken.”

–Lorraine Bracco, costar, The Sopranos

“Jimmy treated us all like family with a generosity, loyalty and compassion that is rare in this world. Working with him was a pleasure and a privilege. I will be forever grateful having had a friend the likes of Jimmy.”

–Michael Imperioli, costar, The Sopranos