James Gandolfini's Friends, Family, and Fans Gather to Say Goodbye
James Gandolfini's nearest and dearest gathered at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Manhattan on Thursday morning in remembrance of the "Sopranos" star.
The private funeral was a star-studded tribute with many "Sopranos" cast members including Edie Falco, Aida Turturro, Lorraine Bracco, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Tony Sirico, Steve Buscemi, Michael Imperioli, Joe Pantoliano, Vincent Pastore, Dominic Chianese, Steve Schirripa, and John Ventimiglia. Other famous mourners included Alec Baldwin and his pregnant wife, Hilaria, John Turturro, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
The 90-minute service was led by Rev. Dr. James A. Kowalski. His widow, Deborah Lin Gandolfini, was expected to provide a remembrance, as was "Sopranos" creator, David Chase, and family friends Thomas Richardson and Susan Aston.
During Chase's eulogy, he recalled shooting a "Sopranos" scene in which Gandolfini, who was known for his intensity on the set, slammed a refrigerator door so hard it broke, according to The Wrap. "Did it say anywhere in the script, 'Tony destroys a refrigerator?'" Chase remembered saying to the powerful actor. "You destroyed the refrigerator."
Chase also shared a conversation they had during which Gandolfini confided, "You know what I want to be? A man. That's all. I want to be a man. " The director noted that it surprised him because the hulking star was so manly, though he shared that he also saw "a sad boy, amazed and confused" inside the star – and thought that's what made him such a great actor.
Anton, who was Gandolfini's longtime dialogue coach, talked about working with him in his home office. She described him as a "big teddy bear of a friend," according to the Associated Press. "He worked hard," she said. "He was disciplined. He studied his roles and did his homework."
[Related: James Gandolfini's 20 Best Roles]