Remembering 'Sopranos' Star James Gandolfini


Emmy Award-winning actor, James Gandolfini, best known for his role as Tony Soprano in the HBO drama, The Sopranos, died on Wednesday at age 51. Gandolfini’s portrayal of the often conflicted, New Jersey Mafia boss earned him three Emmy Awards for  “Best Actor in Drama” during the shows six season run from 1999-2007.

In 2007, Entertainment Weekly included Gandolfini in their list of  “The 50 Greatest TV Icons”  for his ability to take the Mob boss “through rage, self-pity, love, and depression,” in the course of a single episode, calling his portrayal of Tony Soprano “a weekly how-to manual on Greek tragedy.”

Gandolfini began his acting career in 1987, starring in several film and television roles over his nearly three decades in the entertainment industry, and produced his first documentary in 2007,  Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq, featuring interviews with veterans from the Iraq War, and another in 2010, Wartorn: 1861-2010, about the impact of post-traumatic stress disorder on American soldiers and their families.

In memory of the iconic performer and his epic portrayal of the troubled, complex character that is Tony Soprano, here are some of the best quotes and moments with Tony from The Sopranos by season:



Episode One: ‘Pilot’…Tony On Therapy: “Let me tell ya something. Nowadays, everybody’s gotta go to shrinks, and counselors, and go on “Sally Jessy Raphael” and talk about their problems. What happened to Gary Cooper? The strong, silent type. That was an American. He wasn’t in touch with his feelings. He just did what he had to do. See, what they didn’t know was once they got Gary Cooper in touch with his feelings that they wouldn’t be able to shut him up! And then it’s dysfunction this, and dysfunction that, and dysfunction vaffancul!”

Episode Five: ‘College’…Tony On his Occupational Hazards: “You know I put food on the table. My father was in it. My uncle was in it. Maybe I was too lazy to think for myself. To consider myself… A rebel. Maybe being a rebel in my family would have been selling patio furniture on route 22.”



Episode Seven: ‘D-Girl’…Tony On the Internet: During one of Tony’s many therapy sessions…

Tony’s therapist, Dr. Melfi: “It sounds to me like Anthony Jr. may have stumbled onto existentialism”                  

Tony Soprano: “F***ing Internet.”

Episode Nine: ‘From Where to Eternity’…Tony On ‘The American Way’: “Excuse me, let me tell you something… When America opened up the floodgates and let all us Italians in, what do you think they were doing it for? ‘Cause they were trying to save us from poverty? No, they did it because they needed us. They needed us to build their cities and dig their subways, and to make them richer. The Carnegies and The Rockerfellers: they needed worker bees and there we were. But some of us didn’t want to swarm around their hive and lose who we were. We wanted to stay Italian and preserve the things that meant something to us: honor and family and loyalty… and some of us wanted a piece of the action. Now we weren’t educated like the Americans, but we had the BALLS to take what we wanted! And those other folks, those other…the JP Morgans, they were crooks and killers too, but that was the business right? The American Way.”



Episode Two: ‘Proshai, Livushka’...Tony’s Mother Livia: During a visit to his mother before her death…

Tony: “I brought you some books on tape since you say you can’t concentrate to read”

Livia Soprano: “I wish The Lord would take now”

Tony: “Well…in the meantime.”

Episode Five: ‘Another Toothpick’Tony On His Therapist: After Tony and his wife Carmela get into an argument during a joint therapy session…

Dr. Melfi: “You’re both very angry.”

Tony: “Yeah, you must have been at the top of your f***in’ class”



Episode One: ‘For All Debts Public and Private’Tony On the Economy: Establishing that show business and the mob business as the two traditionally recession proof businesses in history…”I don’t want to hear about the freaking economy! I don’t want to hear it…Now that’s it. That’s all I’ve gotta say. Frankly, I’m depressed and ashamed.”

Episode Eleven: ‘Calling All Cars’…Tony On Happiness and Meaning in Life: You know, there’s this Russian woman. She told me something that’s very true. She said, only here, in America, do we expect to be happy. I mean this woman, she had a terrible leg disease since she was 9. She was dirt poor. She’s getting on with her life. I mean, over here, we come and we bitch to shrinks…Pain and truth? Pain and truth? Come on, I’m a fat f***ing crook from New Jersey.”



Episode Four: ‘All Happy Families’…Tony On Historial Antidotes: “That’s another thing. I don’t want to hear anymore ‘how it was in your day.’ From now on, keep your antidotes to local color, like Dinoflow or Maquire sisters. Otherwise, Shut the F*** Up”

Episode Ten: ‘Cold Cuts’…Tony On Revenge: “You Know what they say: Revenge is like serving cold cuts.”



Episode Four: ‘The Fleshy Part of the Thigh’…Tony On Understanding Evolution/Religion: During a visit by Evangelist Bob Brewster after Tony’s near death experience..

Bob Brewster: “Some people would have you believe dinosaurs existed millions of years ago. It’s just not true! God created the Earth six thousand years ago. And I tell my kids: ‘You have to remember: dinosaurs and human beings lived on the Earth at the same time!’

Tony: “What? Like the Flintstones?”

Episode Nineteen: ‘The Second Coming’…On Mothers: “This is gonna sound stupid, but I saw at one point that our mothers are … bus drivers. No, they’re the bus. See, they’re the vehicle that gets us here. They drop us off and go on their way. They continue on their journey. And the problem is that we keep tryin’ to get back on the bus, instead of just lettin’ it go.”