Today: James Gandolfini Dies in Italy at 51, Legacy as Tony Soprano

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James Gandolfini Remembered: The Legacy of Tony Soprano

Today: James Gandolfini Dies in Italy at 51, Legacy as Tony Soprano

James Gandolfini is not only remembered for his rough and tough mobster Tony Soprano, but for bringing humanity to such a dark character. He was 51. (Phil Stafford / Shutterstock.com)

Before there was Don Draper, there was Tony Soprano. HBO’s big, bad mobster brought fans to their knees. James Gandolfini played the iconic role throughout The Sopranos, and there was even talk of doing a Sopranos movie. Unfortunately, Gandolfini passed away this week while on vacation with his son in Italy. He was 51 and his legacy will live on.

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Countless punches were thrown, tables were smashed, shots were taken, and all in the name of protecting his family. In the upcoming issue of GQ, the magazine takes a look at the life of Tony Soprano and what the role did to James Gandolfini. “The Night Tony Soprano Disappeared” honors what Tony Soprano brought to the world, but also talks about how Gandolfini dealt with his character off set. He couldn’t escape the role and going home to his family at night was a challenge.

Today Show: James Gandolfini Added Humanity to Tony Soprano

At the height of Sopranos mania, the GQ article compares Gandolfini to being all four Beatles at onceThe pressures from the role and fans lead him to disappear for several days. When he returned to set, he was apologetic, said co-stars. Despite being a hard and abrasive character, fans were drawn to Tony for his sense of humanity. A New York Times article talks about the softer side that shown through Tony and how that was really Gandolfini breaking through his character’s roughness.

Gandolfini was not interviewed for the upcoming GQ article, but in past interviews he was very quiet about his craft. Unlike some actors, he didn’t like to talk about acting and called himself “just a fat guy from Jersey.”

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James Gandolfini will be remembered for his iconic roles, humbleness, and what he brought to the acting world. The July issue of GQ goes on stands Tuesday June 25.

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