Now the song itself is befitting the character he made famous, Tony Soprano but not for the man himself the actor. Jimmy Roselli’s “Little Pal” literally became the mob song, all you have to do is listen to the lyrics.
My heart breaks for his son Michael who sadly had to witness his dad dying just days before Fathers Day to what was supposed to be a vacation for both. Yesterday was the 12th anniversary of my own Dads death. I watched him die as well waiting for paramedics. At 44 it was hard enough let alone a 13 year-old.
It took me 3 days to be able sit and write this. I feel my blog has become an obituary page. Mostly lately for musicians but this Sopranos star really got to me.
Yes I was a fan of the show but I also was a fan of the many movies Gandolfini made notably The Mexican. It showed more of his real life sensitive side. Many of entertainers have passed some old and some even younger than Gandolfini. But having watched the Soprano’s that was a part of our viewing for eight seasons so recently and in a way his larger than life mob role, the sudden announcement of his death honestly did shock us.
Nothing is promised in this lifetime, not another second and as you get older and older it becomes more and more frightening. Hell I just turned 56 in May so when an individual we watch in our living rooms weekly dies at 51, it seems to have stung even more.
When cable started everybody wondered if any show produced could compete with televisions three major networks. Not only did it compete but completely blew them off the radar and the main show that did it was the Soprano’s.
Gandolfini’s role was massive and it took no time to catch fire. He had already been on stage on Broadway and in the movies and not being the Hollywood type but the down to earth kind, the biggest role of his life didn’t change him. On the contrary it allowed him to do even more in his personal life to make things better for others. Giving a gigantic voice to what was close to his heart. Our Troops.
This man gave of himself and it was that kindness and generosity that made him even a bigger star of life.
As soon as the breaking news came in the late hours here Wednesday and I watched throughout the night I along with probably every other Soprano’s fan thought the same thing. You won’t know it, It’ll just go black.
It was just supposed to be a final TV script, not one for real life. Sadly it became one just 5 years after the show concluded.
So no Micheal the song is for the role your Dad created that was larger than life that we grew to love. In life he was the man you can always be proud of for the rest of your days. My heart goes out to the rest of James Gandolfini’s children, wife and family members.
God Speed to all of the friends who worked with him on everything he did as an actor, to all he touched in this lifetime who he helped and the millions upon millions of fans throughout the world who sit shell-shocked as if all this is a bad nightmare.
Ernie Borgnine was our parents era of great character actors, James Gandolfini was ours. Your talent will be missed forever.
From this Paisan,
Riposa in Pace. Il cielo è diventato più ricco.
Little Pal by Jimmy Roselli (was also an Italian native of Hoboken, New Jersey.)
Written by Buddy DeSylva, Lew Brown & Al Jolson – lyrics and Ray Henderson – composer.