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Gandolfini Funeral: Friends Recall Childlike Personality, Acting Strengths

Image: Gandolfini Funeral: Friends Recall Childlike Personality, Acting Strengths

By Teresa Meek   |   Thursday, 27 Jun 2013 03:52 PM

At James Gandolfini's funeral Thursday, the cast and executives of "The Sopranos," including Edie Falco, Steve Buscemi, Tony Sirico, Aida Turturro, Dominic Chianese and Jamie-Lynn Sigler, turned out to pay tribute and share memories at New York’s iconic Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

USA Today reported that other luminaries attending included New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and actors Alec Baldwin, Julianna Margulies, Chris Noth and Marcia Gay Harden.

The 51-year-old Gandolfini died in Italy last week of a heart attack in Rome, where he was vacationing with his son.

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At the funeral, Sopranos creator David Chase read a letter he wrote as a eulogy addressed to Gandolfini, USA Today reported. He described the actor as boyish, saying his childlike personality helped create an interesting portrait of the Sopranos mob-boss character.

He recalled Gandolfini once telling him, “You know what I want to be? A man. That's all. I want to be a man." Chase described the actor as "a sad boy, amazed and confused."

"You could see it in your eyes. That's why you were a great actor.”

Sopranos fans "saw and felt that little boy and they sensed his love and his hurt," Chase said.

"He used his brilliant mind to ask the questions that would prepare his heart for each scene," fellow actor Susan Aston said, according to Fox News.

Gandolfini immersed himself in the Tony Soprano role — maybe sometimes a bit too much, Chase said.

He recalled working on a scene in which Gandolfini repeatedly slammed a refrigerator door in irritation, even though the script didn’t call for him to do so. It broke the refrigerator.

“Sometimes you tried too hard. The refrigerator is one example,” Chase said.

“This role, this role, the places it takes me to,” Chase recalled the actor saying at the time, according to NBC News.

The Rev. James Kowalski, who officiated at the service, said that while he didn’t endorse the program’s graphic violence, Gandolfini had an "ability at times to make that darkness accessible to us so that we may come to terms with it," according to USA Today.

The Star-Ledger tweeted the funeral live from New York.

“Like art imitating life/life imitating art,” tweeted Realtor Dave.

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Related stories:

Broadway Theaters to Pay Tribute to Late Actor James Gandolfini

James Gandolfini Diner – Holsten's – Puts 'Reserved' Sign on Table

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