Actor James Gandolfini dead at 51

Last Updated: June 23, 2013By

James Gandolfini who died far too early at age 51 will be sorely missed. If ever there was a natural, he was it. No matter what the part, no matter if an entire series like the Sopranos or a Broadway play rested on his shoulders or if he appeared onscreen or onstage in a supporting role, he occupied the space so stupendously—and not because of his girth—that anyone one else up there with him didn’t even register.

Many actors are naturally gifted and many develop great talent but few have the kind of presence, of aura even, that Gandolfini possessed and that earned him rave reviews as well as a shower of awards. If that could be explained, put into words, or, even better, into a bottle, struggling thespians everywhere would appeal to the public with the same charisma. But Gandolfini cannot be replicated or imitated. Today, he can only be mourned.