Actor James Gandolfini dead at age 51

James Gandolfini

James Gandolfini, the actor who most famously portrayed Tony Soprano on the series “The Sopranos,” has died in Italy at age 51. This is a sad for Soprano fans which includes us he will always be remembered by us as Tony Soprano.

“It is with immense sorrow that we report our client James Gandolfini passed away today while on holiday in Rome, Italy,” said his managers, Mark Armstrong and Nancy Sanders. “Our hearts are shattered and we will miss him deeply. He and his family were part of our family for many years and we are all grieving.”

Though he rose to his greatest fame playing a New Jersey mob boss on “The Sopranos,” Gandolfini also had a long and diverse list of credits as a stage and film actor, including many character and supporting roles.

“He was a genius. Anyone who saw him even in the smallest of his performances knows that,” “Sopranos” creator David Chase said in a prepared statement this evening. “He is one of the greatest actors of this or any time. A great deal of that genius resided in those sad eyes. I remember telling him many times, ‘You don’t get it. You’re like Mozart.’ There would be silence at the other end of the phone. … He wasn’t easy sometimes. But he was my partner, he was my brother in ways I can’t explain and never will be able to explain.”

After “The Sopranos” ended its run in 2007, Gandolfini received a Tony nomination starring in the Broadway hit, “God of Carnage,” described in a 2009 New York Times article as a “satiric comedy.”

Gandolfini told The Times in 2009 that he had been looking for an acting change of pace.

“I love hearing people laugh,” he told the interviewer. “Especially in New York, and especially now. To hear somebody out there just belly-laughing.”