NEW YORK (PIX11) — The world lost an acting legend last week. And Thursday morning James Gandolfini was not only remembered for his skill as an actor but as a wonderful person.
Family, friends, co-stars and fans packed the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine for the actor’s funeral. It was filled to capacity.
Best known for his role as Tony Soprano, James Gandolfini was also remembered for his heart and his hugs.
Longtime friend Thomas Richardson was one of four people who spoke during the service. He asked people to “Think of Jim and hug. And hug people too tight and hug your loved ones too long.”
Many of “The Sopranos” cast members attended the funeral in Morningside Heights. Edie Falco, Steve Buscemi, Michael Imperioli, and Tony Sirico were just a few seen climbing the steps of the Cathedral.
David Chase, the creator of “The Sopranos,” also spoke Thursday. He made the mourners laugh but he paused during his words for tears. He spoke of Gandolfini’s wish “to be a man,” something Chase said he already represented to so many people. But Chase said he saw Gandolfini as a boy; a sad boy. His thoughts were in the form of a letter to Gandolfini. “You could see it in your eyes. That’s why you were a great actor,” said Chase.
“It was a beautiful ceremony. He was a beautiful guy. I worked with him many times,” said “Sopranos” actor Frank Albanese. “He was a joy to work with; a great actor, a great man, a great human being.”
Hundreds of fans waited outside the Cathedral. It was one last goodbye to the 51-year-old New Jersey native who died of a heart attack on June 19th in Italy.
“He spoke to a very broad audience and I think he touched people’s feelings,” said fan Vicky Rizzo.
James Gandolfini is survived by his wife Deborah Lin, his baby daughter Lilliana and his teenage son Michael.