Family and friends attended James Gandolfini's private viewing held at the Robert Spearing Funeral Home in Park Ridge, New Jersey on Wednesday, June 26. The actor's widow Deborah Lin, teenage son Michael, and 9-month-old daughter Liliana were among the first wave of mourners who arrived at the funeral home.
Baby Liliana was shielded by umbrellas as she entered the funeral home inside a baby carrier with her mother. Gandolfini's sisters Johanna Antonacci and Leta also joined their aunt, uncle and cousin at the invitation-only wake, which was scheduled to run until 9 P.M.
Around 18 local police officers were assigned at the site to keep order. Police shut down a side street adjacent to the home at about 11 A.M., and the media and the public respected the boundaries. "It's been somewhat uneventful, which is what we hoped ... we asked people to respect the family and overall people heeded that," said Capt. Joseph Rampolla of the Park Ridge Police.
Gloria Lowell, who was among the guests, described the situation inside the funeral home, "Jim sucked all the air out of the room." Another friend, Dan Katz, said Gandolfini "would probably be incredulous at the fuss being made over him in death ... He would be laughing at the flag [at the state government buildings] flying half staff. He was a very private person. He didn't like the limelight."
James Gandolfini died of heart attack on Wednesday, June 19 while vacationing with his 13-year-old son in Italy. His body arrived in the U.S. earlier this week and a public funeral is scheduled to take place Thursday at The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in Manhattan, with celebrity friends expected to attend.