It’s an honor that Tony Soprano could only have dreamed of. And one he probably would have run by his therapist.
Fox reports that after an order from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the Garden State is flying its flags at half-staff for the late actor James Gandolfini. The order stipulates that all flags in government buildings, offices and other properties be lowered in honor of the actor’s accomplishments.
The former “Sopranos” star died last week of a sudden heart attack while attending a film festival in Rome. The critically and commercially acclaimed show was largely set in New Jersey, where Gandolfini himself was born. The actor's funeral services are scheduled to take place on Thursday in New York City.
“James Gandolfini was an iconic actor and will be remembered for the timeless impact he left upon television and film in the State of New Jersey and across our nation,” Christie said in a statement released shortly after Gandolfini’s death.
Gandolfini won three Emmy awards for his portrayal of the New Jersey mafia figure on the HBO series, and "The Sopranos" is still regarded as one of the most influential and critically acclaimed shows in television history. Nonetheless, it did not always portray the state in a positive light, often focusing on topics including local government corruption and organized crime.
The executive order from Christie reads in part: "Whereas, it is with profound sadness that we mourn the loss of James Gandolfini and extend our sincere sympathy to his family, friends, and countless fans, and whereas, it is appropriate to recognize the achievements and contributions, to honor the memory, and to mark the passing of James Gandolfini."
It’s not the first time Christie has ordered state flags lowered for a late local celebrity. In February 2012, he issued a similar executive order after the death of singer Whitney Houston, and one in June 2011 after the death of Clarence Clemons, the saxophonist in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band.
Christie has also issued similar orders after the deaths of state officials, military veterans and for every state police officer killed in the line of duty.