The sudden passing of James Gandolfini at the age of 51 is a great loss. One of America’s finest actors best known of course for his iconic portrayal of Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano in David Chase’s groundbreaking television series The Soprano’s , Gandolfini could switch between brutish and tender, smart and dumb with the great ease and skill of a seasoned character actor. His imposing physicality often masked the hidden intelligence, sensitivities and complex emotions hidden within his characters.
A singular, compelling presence in American drama, this was an actor you could never take your eyes off less you miss a gesture, glance, a smile that could communicate so much with such economy and skill it was always a pleasure to watch. He made most other actors ‘acting’ look like Shelly Levene on a bad day.