'Sopranos' star Gandolfini mourned as a great craftsman

Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:47pm EDT
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By Chris Francescani

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Fellow actors mourned James Gandolfini as a great craftsman and a warm and generous man at a his funeral on Thursday, a week after the 51-year-old star of the HBO television show "The Sopranos" died of a heart attack while visiting Rome.

"Sopranos" creator David Chase and the actor's wife Deborah Lin Gandolfini were among four speakers at a packed ceremony for the actor whose performance as a cigar-chomping New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano made him a household name.

Most of the cast of "The Sopranos," including Edie Falco, who played Tony Soprano's wife, and Michael Imperioli, who played his nephew Christopher Moltisanti, attended the 90-minute ceremony at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in upper Manhattan.

"It was heaven on earth. You could feel James' presence," actor George Loros, who played mobster and FBI informant Ray Curto in the series, said about the funeral.


Loros, who was visibly moved by the service, and other actors praised Gandolfini's generosity, dedication and talent.

"He could be talking like you and I are talking right now," Loros told Reuters, "and then he could be called to the set and be just brutal (as an actor). He had such a God-given gift."

New York actor Tommy Bayiokos, who worked on the fifth season of "The Sopranos," described Gandolfini as "a master of his craft."   Continued...

Mourners embrace outside the funeral services of James Gandolfini at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine for funeral services in New York June 27, 2013. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson