James Gandolfini (a.k.a. Tony Soprano) died yesterday while vacationing in Rome.
The 51-year-old was in Italy scheduled to attend the 59th Taormina Film Festival.
I don’t know why, but I felt incredibly shocked and saddened when news broke yesterday of his passing.
I realize my reaction is a little ridiculous. It’s not like I knew the guy.
I couldn’t even name another role he played outside of the patriarch mobster on the hit HBO series, “The Sopranos”.
But I can tell you all about Tony Soprano. I know the names and personalities of his on-screen wife and kids, his favorite place to eat, and how he could be both lovable and horrid at the same time. I can still picture the seedy Bada Bing strip club where Tony and his crew often congregated. I remember how he struggled with anxiety attacks and saw a therapist who could never truly heal him from himself.
And his sad eyes… who can forget those?
My husband and I (who rarely agree on what constitutes good TV) got to know Gandolfini’s character by watching him every Sunday night on the legendary series that was first aired in January 1999. Eighty-six episodes and six seasons later, I remember picking my jaw up off the floor as the final episode came to a close with the screen simply going black.
I, along with the rest of America, was left to wonder if Tony had finally been whacked by a hit man or if life simply carried on for the notorious New Jersey family.
I guess… I sort of assumed Gandolfini’s real life would be played out in much the same manner. I never wanted to know what happened to him. I wanted him to live on forever.
Sadly, reality isn’t scripted. My thoughts and condolences go out to his family and friends.
Heidi Woodard is working mom with three children. Read her Thursdays on momaha.com
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