Thursday, June 20, 2013

(TV) James Gandolfini: The man who helped change TV for the better

James Gandolfini’s death at 51 from an heart attack while in Italy is a tragedy for his family, friends and admirers of his work but this moment also serves as a opportunity to look at a great career of great actor who was an integral part of The Sopranos , the show that changed TV for the better.

It’s strange that Gandolfini, an actor with a accomplished career in both TV and cinema would be held in high esteem for his epic portrayal of an violent and adulterous Jersey mob boss with very few redeeming qualities but with closer analysis, it is easy to see why his portrayal of Tony Soprano will always be remembered.

Tony Soprano in another actor’s hands would have been one of the hardest characters in TV history to like never mind watch for his brutality, prejudiced views and almost pathological adultery but lucky for us, Gandolfini, with his towering performances, made us all have sympathy for the devil. Gandolfini was not alone in making The Sopranos the excellent TV series that it was but it is hard to see The Sopranos reaching its height of acclaim and cultural significance without him at center of the mayhem that was typical of the show.

In sum, James Gandolfini accomplished career maybe defined by his contribution to the The Sopranos but smarter observers of the actor’s body of work knows just exactly how great Gandolfini was. 

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