Clear a few moments from your schedule today, and cue up these video clips on your computer in honor of the late "Sopranos" star James Gandolfini, who died yesterday in Italy at age 51.
James Gandolfini Reads Maurice Sendak
First up, the actor does a memorable reading of Maurice Sendak's "In the Night Kitchen" during a 2008 80th birthday tribute to the children's author in New York City.
"Inside the Actors Studio" With James Gandolfini
Then, settle in a little longer for Gandolfini's 2004 appearance on "Inside the Actors Studio" with James Lipton. It's a rare chance to see Gandolfini as Gandolfini for that long ... not only was he not a fan of talking about himself in print interviews, but one of his more endearing qualities (though probably maddening for the publicists who worked with him) was that he did not repeat the same three anecdotes on every morning and late-night talk show when he had a project to promote. In fact, Gandolfini was a very infrequent talk show guest, making his "Actors Studio" sit-down all the more a treat. He's funny, charming, and modest, generously credits his fellow performers during the chat, and also reveals several interesting tidbits about himself, including that actor Roger Bart is the one who pushed him to try acting in the first place.
Zoe and James Gandofini on "Sesame Street"
In 2002, Gandolfini joined the long list of A-listers who've spent time on "Sesame Street." In his adorable segment with Zoe, he helped her realize that everybody feels scared of things sometimes, even him. Darkness (alleviated by his teddy bear) and haircuts (alleviated by a giant lolly) were things he was afraid of, he told Zoe, who had to comfort him with a hug when the third thing he feared showed up: giant talking vegetables!
James Gandolfini and Sammy the Puppy
Finally, it's a random fan-shot video on YouTube, but check out Gandolfini leaving the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles in 2011, after a performance of the play "God of Carnage" (at the 1:05 mark). Stopping to sign autographs, he takes a fan's puppy out of its carrier and walks off with it to show someone emerging from the theater ... it's his son, Michael, whose face lights up when he sees the dog with his dad.
See Gandolfini's best TV and film roles:
- Arts & Entertainment
- James Gandolfini
- James Lipton
- Maurice Sendak