James Gandolfini was best known for his role as the complex mafia boss Tony Soprano in the smash hit HBO series The Sopranos, but off screen he was described as a “gentle giant” and a “genius”. The New Jersey-born actor became a second-time father just last year, when his wife, former model Deborah Lin, gave birth to their daughter Liliana. He also leaves a teenage son, Michael, with his ex-wife Marcy Wudarski.
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HELLO! Online has picked five of the Emmy-winning star’s best quotes:
On acting: "It is an odd way to make a living. Putting someone else's pants on and pretending to be someone else is occasionally, as you grow older, horrifying."
On landing the role that made him a household name: "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."
On deciding to act: "I dabbled a little bit in acting in high school and then forgot about it completely. And then at about twenty-five I went to a class. I don’t think anybody thought I would succeed, which is understandable. I think they were just happy that I was doing something."
On the close-knit Sopranos cast: “What they say about TV shows is true. You're really a family. You laugh, you fight, you get close, you know? Movies are shorter. They're over quicker. You don’t form the same bonds."
On the Sopranos ending: "It's been a great opportunity, but I don't have much trepidation about it ending. I think it's more than time."