The death of James Gandolfini, whose performance as Tony Soprano on “The Sopranos” will go down as one of the defining roles in television history, has left fans of the HBO show, and of the actor, in shock. He was only 51 and left behind a wife, an infant daughter, and a teenage son from his first marriage.
Watching clips of Gandofini in roles other than Tony Soprano, or of him merely being interviewed, is fascinating, because it reminds you of how he didn’t merely act out the role of a New Jersey mob boss. He became a Jersey mob boss. Seeing him blush, or laugh or smirk off camera is such a stark contrast to the man who riveted audiences with his foul mouth, penchant for violence, infidelities, and other off-color behaviors that were the epitome of his signature character.
These clips of James Lipton interviewing Gandolfini on “Inside the Actor’s Studio” reveal a soft-spoken, good-hearted man grateful for those who taught him, who raised him, and who gave him the breaks he needed to become a star.
Here, he talks about his upbringing.
In the first Ganfolfini talks about one of his earliest roles.
In this one, he talks about his early acting days.
In this one he reveals a softer side, like a dance he would do late at night.
Doug Most can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Globedougmost