James Gandolfini, who played mobster-in-analysis Tony Soprano in HBO's groundbreaking series "The Sopranos," died yesterday while vacationing in Italy. He was 51, and reports varied about whether he died of a stroke or a massive heart attack.
- KC's View:
- In the history of television, there are a few actors who so completely connected with their characters that the roles became iconic and the portrayals the stuff of legend. Some that come to mind are Peter Falk as Lt. Columbo, James Arness as Matt Dillon, David Janssen as Dr. Richard Kimble, Carroll O’Connor as Archie Bunker, Leonard Nimoy as Spock, and, yes, James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, who could at once be dangerous, introspective, pathetic and funny. It is hard to imagine anyone else in the role, he was that submerged into the character ... and while his passing is premature, to say the least, he leaves behind one of the most effective characterizations even portrayed on TV. Or anywhere else, for that matter.