Hundreds of friends, family members and fans came together this morning to remember the late James Gandolfini at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in Manhattan, New York.
One of four speakers, Sopranos creator, David Chase, delivered a touching eulogy, in the form of a letter, to his dear friend and former colleague.
“Dear Jim,”; he began. “I tried to write a traditional eulogy, but it came out like bad TV. So I’m writing you this letter and I’m hoping it’s better. But it is being done to and for an audience, so we’ll give the funny opening a try. I hope it is funny. It is to me; I know it is to you.”;
Their close friendship just couldn’t help but shine through his words. “I also feel you’re my brother,”; David shared, “in that we had different tastes, but the things that we both loved — which was family, work, the people in all their imperfection, food, alcohol, talking, rage, and a desire to bring the whole structure crashing down. We amused each other.”;
David described James’ unique spirit, which carried through to his life and work. “And that was all in your eyes. And that was why, I think, you were a great actor — is because of that boy that was inside.”; He continued, “[Your reactions] were just simple emotions, straight and pure. And I think your talent is that you can take in the immensity of humankind and the universe and shine it back out to the rest of us like a huge, bright light. And I believe that only a pure soul, like a child, could do that really well. And that was you.”;
And, it was this boyish charm, David said, which brought James’ Tony Soprano to life.”;Now, to talk about a third guy between us — there was you and me and this third guy,”; referring to the beloved character. “People always say, “Tony Soprano. Why do we love him so much when he was such a prick?” And my theory was they saw the little boy. They felt and they loved the little boy, and they sensed his love and hurt. And you brought all of that to him.”;
The celeb heavy ceremony was attended by former Sopranos castmates Edie Falco, Lorraine Bracco, Steve Buscemi, Julianna Margulies, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Joe Pantoliano and Tony Sirico among many others. Also in attendance Alec Baldwin, Steve Carell, Marcia Gay Harden, Chris Noth, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
James’s widow Deborah Lin Gandolfini, his assistant, Thomas Richardson and long-time acting coach Susan Aston were also speakers at today’s funeral. James Gandolfini, 51, died of a heart attack in Italy, last Wednesday.
— by Sylvia Ogweng