It’s late and I need to get to bed, but I need to write a bit about this.
I am just heartbroken to learn that it really is true. James Gandolfini is dead at the age of 51.
“The Sopranos” means a lot to me and Ken. I had never watched it until I met him, but he was already a fan (I think that was one season into the show), and as soon as I watched, I was hooked, too. I think it was the first show that we really “bonded” over, and we never missed an episode after we got together. We got the entire series on DVD, and watched it again a couple of years ago. One of our weird “couple things” (all couples have them, right?) is because of a Bob & Tom skit that involves James Gandolfini and Charles Barkley. It involves trying a new food, some heavy Gandolfini breathing, and us saying, “Yeah...pretty good.” I’m betting that the next time we do that, I’ll get all teary-eyed.
The Interwebz was crazy with the rumor for a while, but there were conflicting reports. A couple of friends cited CNN as reporting it, but CNN lost all credibility with me because of their horrible reporting of the Boston Marathon bombing. I’m sorry to say it, but I just don’t find them trustworthy anymore, and haven’t watched for several months now. I thought the most credible report was from HBO, and then other national media finally began weighing in, and it turned out that it was sadly true. Celebrity death hoaxes are rampant in the last few years, so I wait for a lot of confirmation before I believe it. Frankly, I didn’t want to believe it was true.
I was in tears, as were several of our friends. Dawn lives in New Jersey, James grew up four towns over from her, and his father was the custodian at her high school. She lives not too far away from the place that was the Bada Bing, and she said that she drives by several of the locations in the show almost every day. She said she feels like her big crazy Italian cousin has died.
I think a lot of us are feeling that way tonight, Dawn. By all accounts, James was a genuinely kind and decent man, and he was obviously a wonderful actor.
My condolences to his family, friends, and all who loved him.