Michael Imperioli pens heartfelt tribute to Sopranos co-star James Gandolfini: ‘Proud of the work we did’

Gandolfini, who played Tony Soprano in mob drama, died from a heart attack in Rome in 2013

Kevin E G Perry
Los Angeles
Thursday 20 June 2024 02:13 BST
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Michael Imperioli has posted a heartfelt tribute to his Sopranos co-star James Gandolfini to mark the eleventh anniversary of the death of the acclaimed Tony Soprano star.

Gandolfini died from a heart attack in Rome, Italy on June 19, 2013. He was 51.

In a message addressed to his late co-star, Imperioli wrote on Instagram: “Dear Jim, Thinking of you today as now you’ve been gone 11 years. And your absence feels as strange, sudden and not real as it did on that terrible day 11 years ago.

“Today I was thinking about when I came backstage after seeing you on Broadway in God of Carnage. This was 2 years after The Sopranos ended. You were so happy doing a play again after so many years away from the stage.

“You told me “I feel like a real actor again.” Now I know what you meant by that as the showI’m doing approaches its 130th performance! Wish you could see it…As the years go by I grow more proud of the work we did together. And the memories of all the fun we had and all the laughs grow more and more precious. Wish we could make another run. Perhaps we will.

“Thank you again dear friend. Miss you. Love Michael.”

Michael Imperioli with James Gandolfini in 2010
Michael Imperioli with James Gandolfini in 2010 (Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Exploring the Arts)

Earlier this year, Imperioli addressed a protesting audience member while still in character during a Broadway performance.

The Sopranos and The White Lotus actor is currently starring in the New York City revival of Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People, alongside Succession actor Jeremy Strong.

A performance in March was briefly disrupted when a group of climate protesters began to chant phrases such as “No Broadway on a dead planet” and “No theatre on a dead planet”.

According to videos shared on social media, the protest took place while characters were in a town hall scene.

As the play mimics a meeting setting, with house lights kept on throughout the show, the demonstrators’ outburst was fitting with the various objections from the characters.

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In response to the chanting, several of the cast’s actors, including Imperioli and David Patrick Kelly, shouted back and some began physically pushing the disrupters up the stairs toward an exit.

One of the protesters was heard to say: “I object to the silencing of scientists. I am very, very sorry to interrupt your night and this amazing performance. I am a theatre artist, I work in the theatre professionally and I am throwing my career…”

However, his speech was cut when Imperioli interjected, while still in character as a 19th-century town mayor: “You need to leave. You’re interrupting.”

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