James Gandolfini, the actor who brilliantly portrayed conflicted mob-boss Tony Soprano, passed away last night at the relatively young age of 51. Shocking, but not entirely surprising. The man was a brilliant actor even outside the scope of The Sopranos, although he was almost always cast in supporting roles. It was his roll in the HBO series, though, that truly redefined the term “quality television”.
Ironically, Gandolfini’s alter ego habitually struggled with his weight and health, leading many viewers to speculate that a heart attack or stroke would someday kill Soparano before his underworld enemies could get to him. As we all know now from the final episode, Tony was likely whacked at his favorite diner, during a final supper with the family.
It’s too bad, really. The Sopranos, along with Lost, was one of those few TV series that held my attention enough to get through every season. I