I’m honestly shocked to have to write this right now. ‘The Sopranos’ star James Gandolfini has passed away unexpectedly while on vacation in Italy. He was only 51-years-old.
Not too many details are known at the time of this writing. The actor was scheduled to appear at the Taormina Film Festival in Sicily this week. Some reports claim that he suffered a heart attack, which perhaps seems like an easy conclusion to jump to given his weight. Others speculate that he may have had a stroke.
Prior to his breakout role in HBO’s ‘The Sopranos’, Gandolfini was a hardworking character actor with memorable appearances in movies like ‘True Romance‘, ‘Crimson Tide‘ and ‘Get Shorty’. Just recently, he played roles in projects as diverse as ‘Zero Dark Thirty‘, ‘Killing Them Softly‘ and, of all things, ‘The Incredible Burt Wonderstone‘ (which will hit Blu-ray next week). He was also featured in ‘Sopranos’ creator David Chase’s feature directing debut ‘Not Fade Away‘, and can currently be seen in the limited-release indie dark comedy ‘Violet & Daisy’.
A couple of my favorite Gandolfini movies would include the Coen brothers’ ‘The Man Who Wasn’t There’ and his vocal performance in Spike Jonze’s beautifully melancholy adaptation of ‘Where the Wild Things Are‘.
The actor is survived by his wife of five years, their nine-month-old daughter, and an older son from a previous marriage.