James Gandolfini was remembered by his friends and colleagues at the 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards Sunday night, September 22 at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. Edie Falco, who played his on-screen wife on "The Sopranos", took the stage to pay a moving tribute to her late co-star.
"When you see really great art you can sometimes forget that behind it is a person with technique and skill, for sure, but with an instinct, a perspective that is distinctly their own, one that moves people, pulls them in and makes them want to watch. James Gandolfini was one such individual," she told the star-studded crowd.
"As one of many examples, his portrayal as Tony Soprano had such depth and dimension that there are still a lot of people who have a hard time believing that's not who he really was. Well, I'm here to tell you Jim was really quite different," she said while standing against a backdrop of black and white photos of the late actor.
"He had tremendous warmth and heart, he was kind, he was uniquely generous. One got the feeling that Jim was never entirely comfortable with all of the attention he got, usually because he said it every chance he got. He was far more interested in turning the light onto people who he considered more worthy."
"When he was interviewing Iraqi War veterans for a project that was very close to his heart, he did so with such genuine interest, respect and humility."
"Over the years, I was particularly moved by Jim's devotion to his family, and to his fierce loyalty to his friends and to all the people in his life. You can ask anybody that knew him, if you needed anything at all, ever, Jim was there to take care of it before you even had a chance to ask."
"You all knew James Gandolfini the actor, I was lucky enough to know Jim the man," Falco said while struggling to hold back her tears. "For ten years as his close colleague and his pretend life partner, and for many more years as his friend, and it's Jim, the man, the very dear man, that I will miss most of all."
Gandolfini died of heart attack on June 19 this year while on vacation with his family in Italy. He was 51. He was best known for his role on "The Sopranos" as a troubled mob boss struggling to balance his family life and career in the mafia.
He won three Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, thanks to his role as the mafia boss. "Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq" and "Hemingway & Gellhorn", which he produced, also got nominated at the awards show.