The actor James Gandolfini has died, while on holiday in Rome of a suspected heart attack. He was only 51. For his many fans, this early death is made especially tragic by the fact that his work only gained wider public acclaim after he took the lead role in HBO's superlative mafia drama The Sopranos, in 1999, aged 38.
Gandolfini was so incredibly good as Tony Soprano, he seemed made for the role. But this was merely the illusion his talent created. In the best tradition of his craft, his performances told us nothing about himself and everything about his character. He was a proper artist and, according to the accounts of those who knew him personally, a thoroughly lovely man as well.
So here's to James Gandolfini. And here are five moments to remember him by, from a too-short, but wonderful career.
1. This clip of him reading the Maurice Sendak children's story The Night Kitchen
2. This quote from an interview:
"I'm an actor... I do a job and I go home. Why are you interested in me? You don't ask a truck driver about his job."
3. This clip from In The Loop (2009)
..which proves Gandolfini was more than a match for even the master-swearer, Malcolm Tucker.
4. This moving tribute to the man:
"He wasn’t one of them. He was one of us." From a piece by Matt Zoller Seitz in New York Magazine.
5. The final scene from The Sopranos
And that final cut to black.