James Gandolfini Laid To Rest [VIDEO]
James Gandolfini was laid to rest at a funeral in New York.
Friends & family lined up early outside Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine to fill the 1,500 seats inside. Fans were also invited to attend. on a first come, first served basis.
One of four speakers at the funeral, Sopranos creator David Chase gave his remarks in the form of a letter to Gandolfini, in the present tense. The actor's widow, Deborah Lin Gandolfini, and two family friends, were also speakers at the ceremony.
Chase remembered that Gandolfini once told him that "you know what I want to be? A man. That's all. I want to be a man." Chase said he marveled upon hearing that, since Gandolfini represented a man so many others wanted to be.
Paradoxically, Chase said he always felt he was seeing a young boy. "A sad boy, amazed and confused," he said. "You could see it in your eyes. That's why you were a great actor."
Susan Anton, who was Gandolfini's longtime dialogue coach and collaborator, spoke of how the actor struggled with his work.
"He worked hard," Anton said. "He was disciplined. He studied his roles and did his homework." But when the cameras rolled, his work was an act of faith that carried him to an uncharted place, she said.
Sopranos Cast Pays Their Respects
Sopranos cast members attending include Federico Castelluccio (Furio Giunta), as well as Joe Pantoliano (Ralph Cifaretto). Edie Falco (Carmela Soprano). Also there: Steve Schirripa (Bobby "Bacala" Baccalieri), Lorraine Bracco (Dr. Jennifer Melfi), Steve Buscemi (Tony Blundetto) , Michael Imperioli (Christopher Moltisanti) , Tony Sirico (Paulie "Walnuts" Gualtieri), Jamie-Lynn Sigler (Meadow Soprano) and John Ventimiglia (Artie Bucco)
Little Steven is on tour with Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band in Spain and will not be able to attend.
HBO filmed the Sopranos cast for a "farewell" video for a a private gift to the family from the network according to the New York Post. “They originally wanted the cast members to file in through the front door, but it would have created [chaos]," a source tells the Post, "so now they’re going to escort them to private property and they’re going to walk in through the side.”
A Flag For The Family
Also among those attending will be New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who said on Townsquare Media's Ask The Governor he will be presenting a flag to the Gandolfini family.
“I’ll be proud to present that flag tomorrow to his family to let them know that the people of the state, where he was raised, where he went to college, and which he helped to make even more famous through his professional work, honor his memory and feels for their tragic loss of him at 51-years old.”
A Wake In Park Ridge
Yesterday Gandolfini was remembered on Broadway as the marquees went dark in his honor.
Mourners at Wednesday's invitation-only wake for family and friends left flowers at the Robert Spearing Funeral Home in his hometown of Park Ridge. Among those paying their respects were Gandolfini's sisters Leta Gandolfini and Johanna Antonacci along with his 8-month-old daughter, Liliana Ruth Gandolfini, who arrived flanked by guards and a blanket according to E!.
Fans also came to the wake and were turned away but left flowers.