The acting world lost a tremendous talent June 19 with the death of Sopranos star James Gandolfini, who died of a possible heart attack while on vacation in Italy. He was 51.
During his career, Gandolfini—known for his role as Tony Soprano on the groundbreaking HBO hit as well as his portrayal of sinister tough guys and criminals in several movies, including 2012's Killing Them Softly and 1995's Get Shorty—sat down with James Lipton for an episode of Inside the Actors Studio in 2004. (Watch a clip below.) The host remembers how impactful that meeting was—and the talent that the entertainment world has now lost.
"When James Gandolfini was on Inside the Actors Studio, our students discovered how thoughtful the real James was," Lipton says. "And how caring he was about the craft he practiced so effortlessly that it didn't look like acting at all. Like all of the finest actors, James convinced you that whatever you were seeing and hearing was just James being James, with no artifice or design. In fact, it was James being precisely what the writer had written and the director had asked for. We've lost a wonderfully skilled actor."
Andy Cohen also paused during last night's episode of Watch What Happens Live when his Mazel of the Day was dedicated to Gandolfini. Cohen shared a clip of Jamie-Lynn Sigler talking about the late actor when she recently appeared on the show. (Watch the clip below.)
"I was 16 when we started the show," Sigler said. "He has such a big presence and he doesn't even know. He is one of the kindest, most generous people, let alone actors I've ever worked with. But I'm sure if you first met him you'd be intimidated but you'd soon realize he's just a lovely person."
Watch a clip of Gandolfini on Inside the Actors Studio, where he reflects on working with Lorraine Bracco on The Sopranos:
Jamie-Lynn Sigler talks about working with James Gandolfini