Posted by Patricia Yager Delagrange
I’m guessing there are many readers who would have qualms about feeling sorry for anyone affiliated with the Mafia. However in this case I’m referring to one of my favorite actors James Gandolfini. I watched The Sopranos in its early years then stopped for some reason. I began following the re-runs about three months ago.
As a writer I became extraordinarily intrigued by how in the heck David Chase made me like, no, made me love Tony Soprano. Every evening at eight o’clock I turned on HBO and watched the series unfold from beginning to the very last episode. There were brutal murders (hits ordered by Tony), terrible beatings (also by Tony’s request), extra-marital affairs (featuring Tony himself), violence toward women (involving Tony and his mistresses).
Yet David Chase allowed us to enter the psychiatrist’s office where Tony opened up and revealed his soul. Tony had a soft side to him. He loved animals, be they ducks or horses or the dog his father took from him when he was a young boy. Tony couldn’t stand it when someone mistreated an animal. And he never hit his wife Carmela though she often dared him to do so during their frequent violent arguments. Carmela and Tony’s nephew Christopher were the only ones who could stand up to Tony and not back down.
The viewer ends up rooting for Tony Soprano. Loving him. Liking him.
James Gandolfini could turn our hearts with a look. A tiny facial expression and I could laugh, cry, or nod with complete understanding.
James died last week at the age of 51 of a massive heart attack.
And I am so sad.