RIP Tony Soprano! Actor James Gandolfini Dies Aged 52

20 June 2013 by

Scrolling through Twitter, as I am now, it’s mad to think anyone is Tweeting about anything other than the death of James Gandolfini. But there you go.

James Gandolfini's assistant told the press that the 52 year old actor suffered a heart attack while in the bathroom during a trip to Italy with his teenage son, Michael.

Despite numerous roles in Things That Weren’t The Sopranos, he will of course be remembered for his six-series role as mafia co-capo, Tony Soprano.

His commanding screen-presence was paramount in establishing The Sopranos as the most influential TV show of the past generation.  He was a father, a husband, a philanderer and a murderer. He loved his family, his non-cousin Christopher and he loved his ducks. He also, probably, loved his therapist, Dr Melfi, although her failure to relay a key event in series three remains a source of frustration. Not a patch on the finale, but still.

I watched The Sopranos over the course of nine months. I watched it every night. I fell asleep to it only to wake up with a spilled bowl of Alpen on my bed at 2am.  I even took it on holiday to Greece and watched it on the balcony while sporadically battering mosquitoes on my leg. When they reached critical mass, I shuttered my room despite the view and warm fug of night heat, and climbed into bed to finish watching a stripped get beaten to death outside a strip club. The violence was always borderline, always sustained and always gave me nightmares. It got progressively nastier and more painful to watch, as each character was developed and slaughtered with equal intensity.  It was, in a word, unprecedented.

If it sounds like I'm mourning the death of a TV programme, then that would be wrong. Thank God for boxsets.

But every time I watch it henceforth, which i will, it will feel as historic as it did real. The scene in which he strangles an (albeit deserving) man before visiting his beloved, dying racehorse on his death bed sums him up; sensitive and intense in equal measure, he was capable of great acts of violence, of infidelity, of being a total ass to women but also of being the greatest anti-hero of all televisual time. Yes, Don, I did say that.

As I put it to a colleague, this is my Amy.

In view of that, here are some of the best Tweets:




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