Family, friends and fans have paid tribute to James Gandolfini at his funeral in New York City, a week after he died in Italy.
David Chase, who created The Sopranos series that made James Gandolfini a household name was among the speakers.
“You were a good boy,” he said during the ceremony at New York’s Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine.
James Gandolfini, who was 51, died following a heart attack last Wednesday while on holiday with his son.
One of four speakers at the funeral, David Chase remembered James Gandolfini in the form of a letter to the actor, in the present tense, saying he brought the traits of a sad boy, “amazed and confused,” to the role of Tony Soprano.
“You could see it in your eyes. That’s why you were a great actor.”
Family, friends and fans have paid tribute to James Gandolfini at his funeral in New York City
David Chase recalled that James Gandolfini once told him: “You know what I want to be? A man. That’s all. I want to be a man.”
David Chase said he marveled upon hearing that, since the actor represented a man so many others wanted to be.
James Gandolfini’s widow, Deborah Lin, and two family friends also spoke during the service.
The actor’s portrayal of the mob boss in the HBO series won him three Emmy Awards as best actor in a drama series. The show ran for six seasons.
Aida Turturro, who played James Gandolfini’s sister in The Sopranos, was one of the first from the show’s large cast to arrive for the funeral service at 10:00 EST, which was led by the Very Reverend Dr. James A Kowalski.
Some 1,500 seats had been set up in the church for celebrities, fellow actors and members of the public who wanted to pay their respects to the star.
Several members of the cast of The Sopranos attended, including Edie Falco, Joe Pantoliano, Dominic Chianese, and Steve Buscemi.
The New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie also made an appearance.
Laila Robins, who played James Gandolfini’s on-screen mother as a young woman in the early seasons, remembered his friendly and humble nature.
“He had an acting coach on set back then because he just wanted to do a good job. That was so sweet, and I remember that about him the most – just how badly he wanted to do a good job. He worked so hard,” she said.
The funeral took place a day after a private family wake was held in New Jersey on Wednesday.
Broadway theatres later paid tribute to James Gandolfini, who was nominated for a Tony Award in 2009 for his role in God of Carnage, by dimming their lights.
James Gandolfini’s 13-year-old son Michael joined mourners including Edith “Edie” Falco, Gandolfini’s on-screen wife Carmela in the HBO hit The Sopranos at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in NYC for the funeral ceremony, which was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. local time.
Before proceedings got underway, seven men could be seen escorting James Gandolfini’s casket, covered in a brown sheet, the church – one of the largest in New York.
Other cast members who came to pay their respects included pregnant Jamie Lynn Sigler, who played Tony Soprano’s daughter Meadow, Aida Turturro, who played his sister Janice, John Ventimiglia, who portrayed Artie Bucco, and Michael Imperioli, who starred as Tony’s nephew Christopher Moltisanti.
New Jersey governor Chris Christie arrived to say goodbye to the man who hailed from his state while James Gandolfini fans lined the streets, hoping they would also be allowed inside the church to mourn the passing of the great actor.
The funeral comes after a private wake was held for family and friends on Wednesday in New Jersey.
The 51-year-old died of a heart attack last week while vacationing in Italy with his son Michael.
The ceremony will include a film tribute produced and filmed by HBO for James Gandolfini’s family, the New York Post reported.
HBO crew members have been mapping out the scene at The Church of Saint John the Divine Cathedral since Monday to shoot a video of the Sopranos cast at the actor’s final curtain call.
Cameramen will be posted around the massive cathedral on Amsterdam Avenue and 112th Street, but the footage will not be aired. It will be a private gift to the family from the network, sources say.
“HBO is running the show,” a source said.
Michael Gandolfini joined mourners at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in NYC for his father funeral ceremony
“They’re paying for everything.
“They originally wanted the cast members to file in through the front door, but it would have created [chaos], so now they’re going to escort them to private property and they’re going to walk in through the side.”
Both James Gandolfini ‘s widow Deborah Lin and his first wife Marcy Wudarski were among the mourners at Wednesday’s wake.
It was invitation-only wake and held at the Robert Spearing Funeral Home in Park Ridge, near Westwood where James Gandolfini grew up.
Meanwhile, Broadway theatres in New York City dimmed their marquee lights on Wednesday night in memory of the late Sopranos star, who earned a Tony Award nomination in 2009 for his role in the award-winning God of Carnage.
Meanwhile, James Gandolfini’s former Sopranos costar Lillo Brancato Jr. spoke about his shock at the actor’s passing.
Lillo Brancato is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence at Hudson Correctional Facility in New York for his role in a robbery that left a police officer dead.
“I couldn’t believe my ears,” Lillo Brancato told The New York Daily News.
“I thought it was a mistake.”
James Gandolfini and Marcy Wudarski divorced in December 2002, and their 13-year-old son Michael allegedly found his father’s body after he died.
Marcy Wudarski and James Gandolfini endured a turbulent separation and divorce but are thought to have grown closer over shared custody of their boy during recent years.
On August 30, 2008, after two years of dating, James Gandolfini married former model Deborah Lin in her hometown of Honolulu, Hawaii.
Their baby daughter Liliana Ruth Gandolfini, was born in October 2012 in Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, in Barcelona, the first showing of James Gandolfini’s work in crime-drama Animal Rescue was greeted with a reverential silence and respectful applause.
James Gandolfini died after he suffered a heart attack in his hotel room in Italy on Wednesday night, and doctors battled for 40 minutes to save him.
Medical staff rushed to Hotel Boscolo in Rome after James Gandolfini’s 13-year-old son found his father suffering the attack in their bathroom around 10 p.m. on Wednesday.
James Gandolfini died after he suffered a heart attack in his hotel room in Italy on Wednesday night
James Gandolfini was taken by ambulance to Policlinico Umberto I hospital where he was pronounced dead. The actor, best known for his role as Tony Soprano in HBO series The Sopranos, was just 51.
“The resuscitation maneuvers, including heart massage etc., continued for 40 minutes and then, seeing no electric activity from the heart, this was interrupted and we declared James dead,” said emergency room chief Claudio Modini.
“The patient was considered dead on arrival, and for that reason an autopsy has been requested to be carried out by a pathologist, as is normal procedure in our country.”
The autopsy is expected to be carried out today.
Actor James Gandolfini, best known for his role as a therapy-seeking mob boss in The Sopranos, has died at the age of 51.
James Gandolfini suffered a possible heart attack while on holiday in Rome, said HBO TV network.
The New Jersey-born star had been in Italy to attend the Taormina film festival in Sicily.
James Gandolfini won three Emmy awards for his role as Tony Soprano, a mafia boss juggling his criminal career and family life.
“It is with immense sorrow that we report our client James Gandolfini passed away today while on holiday in Rome, Italy,” said his managers, Mark Armstrong and Nancy Sanders, in a statement on Wednesday night.
“Our hearts are shattered and we will miss him deeply.”
HBO also said the star of The Sopranos, which ran for six series on the cable channel from 1999-2007, would be “deeply missed”.
“He was a special man, a great talent, but more importantly a gentle and loving person who treated everyone no matter their title or position with equal respect,” said its statement.
“He touched so many of us over the years with his humor, his warmth and his humility.”
James Gandolfini suffered a possible heart attack while on holiday in Rome (Photo: Getty Images)
James Gandolfini was born in 1961 in Westwood, New Jersey, to a school dinner lady and a bricklayer-turned-school caretaker, both of Italian background.
He graduated with a degree in communications from New Jersey’s Rutgers University.
Then he moved to New York, finding work as a bartender and a club manager.
James Gandolfini’s acting career took off in 1992 when he landed a part in a Broadway production of A Streetcar Named Desire.
His breakthrough role came a year later playing a mobster in the movie True Romance.
James Gandolfini’s more recent film credits included In The Loop, Zero Dark Thirty and Killing Them Softly.
He was nominated for a Tony theatre award in 2009 for his role in the Broadway hit God of Carnage.
James Gandolfini is survived by his second wife, Deborah Lin, a former model from Hawaii, whom he married in 2008, and their daughter, Liliana, born last year.
He also leaves a teenage son, Michael, from his first marriage to Marcy Wudarski, his former personal assistant. They wed in 1999 and split three years later.
The Sopranos creator David Chase said James Gandolfini was a “genius”.
“He is one of the greatest actors of this or any time,” he said.
“A great deal of that genius resided in those sad eyes.”