Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Regular Guy From Jersey

James Gandolfini described himself as "just a guy doing a silly job."

I think that attitude is a big part of what made him so successful and popular. Loved.

51 is so young. To die at dinner with his teenage son Michael is so heartbreaking.

Two little slice of NY stories about James Gandolfini ...

After 9/11 James would ride his bike around to all the Manhattan firehouses and visit the guys. He'd buy them lunch or just hang out listening to them. I saw him on the West Side Highway - I was stuck in my car in a horror of a traffic jam and he was at the intersection. I called out "hey Jimmy" and blew him a kiss. He smiled and put his hand to his heart. 

When I was mentoring at a family crisis center in Northern NJ one of the Moms told me that he came into the diner where she worked all the time. He always left huge tips - on one particular night he left $500 wrapped in a note that said she should get the kids new stuff for school. She told me he always asked about her kids.




A writer for NY Magazine said this about James Gandolfini - "In the dozens of hours he had on the screen, he made Tony Soprano—lovable, repulsive, cunning, ignorant, brutal—more ruthlessly alive than any character we’ve ever encountered in television."

Ruthlessly alive - how wonderful is that.

While I loved his portrayal of Tony Soprano the real persona is the one I'll remember.


He loved dogs and was often seen around the city with his pups. 




In this photo the paparazzi are teasing him because he had just stopped to pick up dog poop.
 



He loved his family.


Seen here at a restaurant in NYC with his wife and son and pup.


Look at that smile as he watches the little girl greet his dog.


This was the scene last night at the NJ restaurant where they shot the final moments of The Sopranos


.
The moments he spent worrying about the ducks in the pool of his TV home on The Sopranos are among my favorite moments of all the many hours of that series.

In the real world James did a lot of work for animal rescues.



Peaceful Journey Jimmy




20 comments:

sylvia kirkwood said...

He was great and 51 is far too young for anyone to die! Thanks for a great post, Dianne!

The Swede said...

This is a fine tribute. RIP Mr Gandolfini, you went way too soon.

Akelamalu said...

He sounds like a really nice fella. So young to die, I feel for his family. :(

Ron said...

Dianne, what a BEAUTIFUL tribute to Jimmy!

And see, this is what I mean about New Yorkers. They are some of the most giving and loving people I have ever met.

These photos brought tears to eyes. Especially the ones with his family and the last one with him and the baby ducks.

He was a gentle giant. With a heart to match.

Thank you for sharing, dear lady!

Peaceful journey, Jimmy.

X

Jay Simser said...

I never watched The Sopranos and was not aware of this man. You made him real for me and now I understand why so many are posting tributes. I am sorry I missed out. Thank you.

Mike said...

71 is too young anymore let alone 51.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I loved that show and will never forget it. The way he made us care about Tony was an amazing feat of acting. He was way Way way way too young (my kids are that age). So sad.

Thank you for the personalized tribute -- I appreciate knowing something more about the man behind the great actor.

DJan said...

He was so young! I was blown away when I realized how young he was when he made Tony Soprano into an icon. R.I.P., James.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

Such a lovely heartfelt tribute, dear Dianne....For me, "THE SOPRANO'S" is in the top 5 ALL time Great Dramas on television, Ever!!!
It makes me so very sad that he died at 51....He was a spectacular actor! I've written a little tribute to him on my blog,too. If you get a chance...
I almost used that same picture with the Ducks....Such a Great photograph...He will be missed, for sure....!!!

You should tell Jay, he can still be transported with the DVD;s of "THE SOPRANO'S"....The Beauty of our incredible advancements in what is available to us....1

Linda Reeder said...

I had no connection with him, having never watched his show, but I love your personal experiences. He sounds like he was a very good and interesting man.

nitebyrd said...

The news of his death broke my heart. I loved him. He was a brilliant actor and an amazing human being.

Your post is wonderful. Thank you.

Hilary said...

I never watched the Sopranos but I've heard nothing but good things about this man. You, as always, write the most loving, touching tributes ever. This one is no exception. Thank you for sharing your love for this fine person including your sweet, kiss-blowing encounter. May he rest in peace knowing he is so loved.

Rambling Woods said...

Awwww...loved this postt

HermanTurnip said...

I remember first seeing James in the movie Get Shorty, and instantly knew that this guy was destined for future greatness. RIP, you big lug!

Daryl said...

a beautiful tribute from a beautiful dame! xox

eViL pOp TaRt said...

So sad.....he will be missed.

A fine, convincing actor.

EG CameraGirl said...

Wonderful tribute!

Brian Miller said...

what a beautiful tribute...the bike riding to the firehouses, loving on his family and picking up his dog poop is def endearing...sad he went so early...

congrats on your POTW over at Hilary's

Hilary said...

I couldn't believe how sad I was when I heard he was really gone. Thanks for sharing this. It was really sweet.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Beautiful tribute. The guy had a heart of gold. RIP.

And, on another note... congrats on your POTW from Hilary.