James Gandolfini, the Emmy award-winning actor most known for playing crime boss Tony Soprano on HBO's "The Sopranos," died Wednesday at the age of 51. The actor, who was vacationing in Italy at the time and planned to appear at Sicily's Taormina Film Festival on Saturday, suffered from a fatal heart attack.
Gandolfini starred in "The Sopranos" for seven years, receiving three Emmys, three Screen Actors Guild Awards and one Golden Globe award for his performance. He also led a very successful film career, recently appearing in "Zero Dark Thirty" and "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone." He was married to model Deborah Lin and had two children: Liliana Ruth and Michael, the latter from his first marriage to Marcy Wudarski.
The indelible impression Gandolfini left on the film and TV world will remain, but he was more than just the characters he played. Many of his costars and celebrities have expressed their condolences about the notoriously media-shy actor over the past day. However, no person can put Gandolfini into words better than Gandolfini himself. We look back at 15 of moments of self-reflection.
"I'm an actor... I do a job and I go home. Why are you interested in me? You don't ask a truck driver about his job."
"Actors will say, 'My character wouldn't say that.' Who said it was your character?"
"Standing in public in other people's clothes, pretending to be someone else. It's a strange way for a grown man to make a living."
"I lost 30 pounds to play my character in 'The Mexican,' but people don't take to skinny mafia men, and I don't feel right when I'm thin."
"Good writing will bring you to places you don't even expect sometimes."
"It is a dark, dark world. If you're going to be in a dark world, I can't think of any better one to be in. I still think I'm very lucky to be in it."
"People don't know and they shouldn't know that you work incredibly hard as an actor."
"Putting somebody else's pants on and pretending to be somebody else is occasionally, as you grow older, horrifying."
"I'm not a big, three-hour-play, Ibsen-revival kind of man."
"I was in bed, and I got the script and I was reading it, and I said, 'Man, this is really good, there's no way I'll get hired for this!'"
"I've been very lucky, considering what I look like and what I do."
"I just don’t think I’m that interesting. I don’t think what I have to say is that interesting. To hear me go blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I mean, who… cares?"
"I was voted best-looking kid in high school but, as you can see, things changed. I used to say I was a 260-pound Woody Allen. You can make that 295-pound now."
"I thought, I've never been the lead before. They're gonna hire somebody else. But I knew I could do it. I have small amounts of Mr. Soprano in me. I was 35, a lunatic, a madman."
"'The Sopranos' all came down to the writing. I wouldn't have been on for as long as I was if the writing weren't so good."
Also check out: James Gandolfini's 5 Least Tony-Like Roles
Images via Getty.