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Jun 23

Remembering the Man-James Gandolfini

I knew him as Jimmy. First, I’d like to say that we love and we will miss you, You were a tribute to our craft and our Italian culture. I was blessed to work with Jimmy on a few projects, 4 episodes of the Sopranos, Seasons 2 & 4. In 4, I was featured with him and we got to know each other a little bit better.

He was a gracious, kind, modest and generous man and a patriot. Did everyone forget when he quietly made his way down to the World Trade Center, to his part in the search and rescue because he was a large and strong man.

Why is the media so anxious to add insult and ready to make horrible remarks causing hurt and pain to his 13year old son. Doesn’t the action display what it was? A father and a son enjoying their time in Italy and exploring their culture. He was having fine food and beverages which compliment the food. The only television, sort of media show, was TMZ. Every other news agency should be ashamed of themselves, causing grief to an already grieving son and family. Is it because he is Italian that they have tried to defame his legacy of our craft. Remarks such as” he had 8 drinks and a past drug history and that these may have been the result of his death…

His son was the last person to be with him, why must you aggravate the situation. wasn’t the fact that his son has just lost his father painful enough. He was a giant amongst actors, he was not braggadocios with his fame, he was kind and friendly.

I had the pleasure of meeting him at a place that I frequent with the actor who portrayed  and now owner of RAOs restaurant, Frank Pellegrino, a friend of mine since I was 16 years old, who is just like family to me. Many of the Sopranos cast frequented RAOS, I met them there even before I was on the show.

I, myself, am not a famous actor, but have been a union actor for the past 12 years, Though I was not famous, Jimmy treated me equally. to me, that is a man of integrity and character.

Let me give you a little education, news reporting agencies, before I give you that education, you defame Italian actors, Bobby DeNiro and Al Pacino, just to mention a few. Every time a story surfaces, you relate it to our heritage and our fame. John Travolta too. Did we all forget that it was these Italian Americans who became famous through their own abilities, they shared that fame with the tragedies of 911 and took a stand displaying what I call, character, integrity and patriotism.

Do you have any idea to what goes into portraying a role? Let’s use Bobby De Niro, for example, with his amazing portrayal of Jake Lamotta, in Raging Bull. He had to gain weight, lose it again, do you have any idea what that does to the body. The physical strain caused by the job. Can you imagine what his heart went through?   You enjoy the performance but don’t bless the man for providing the entertainment.

Show some respect for the entertainment he gave us. I will go and honor my fellow actor and friend at the funeral services and remember what a joy it was to work with such an actor.

The 2 best shows that I worked on were Law and Order SVU for 3 seasons, and believe me, you all become like family working with each other so closely for a long time, and the few episodes that I worked on the Sopranos. Jimmy played a tough guy, but was a gentle giant.

Rest in peace Jimmy and thanks for what you gave us. may God give your son peace and strength during this very difficult time.

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