On November 13th I had the pleasure of attending for the first time the NJ Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The Class of 2014 was inducted at the Asbury Park Convention Hall, and it was a very fun night out. I was there as a member of the press, and covered both the red carpet arrivals and the show itself. I have to thank NJ Discover for taking me with them, since the organizers don’t accept simply bloggers, just accredited organizations.
The most popular red carpet guests were cast members from the Sopranos. Vince Curatola (Johnny Sacks) arrived first and was very friendly with the media. Then Aida Turturro (Janice Soprano) spent a lot of time really loving the attention and talking to everybody. Vincent Pastore (Salvatore “Big Pussy” Bonpensiero) was also cool and not in a rush to leave his media friends. The FBI Agent Guy slipped unnoticed since nobody knew who he was. Tony Sirico (Paulie Walnuts) was last to arrive and while friendly as well, he seemed to be still in character.
Governor Chris Christie today ordered that all State buildings will fly flags at half-staff on Monday, June 24, 2013 to recognize the achievements and contributions of actor James Gandolfini.
Gandolfini, best known for his depiction of Tony Soprano in the HBO series The Sopranos, died of a heart attach at age 51 on Wednesday while vacation with his family in Italy.
In a statement issued by his office, Christie said,
James Gandolfini, a New Jersey native born in Westwood, who graduated from Park Ridge High School and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rutgers University. James Gandolfini enjoyed an extraordinarily successful acting career across television, film and Broadway, including his popularly acclaimed role as Tony Soprano in The Sopranos, and advocated for United States servicemembers and veterans in his two documentaries, Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq and Wartorn:1861-2010. James Gandolfini was an iconic actor and will be remembered for the timeless impact he left upon television and film in the State of New Jersey and across our nation.
He was best known for his portrayal of Tony Soprano and his most famous Monmouth County scenes were in Sea Bright and Asbury Park, but James Gandolfini kept working here after the HBO classic ended in 2007.
Gandolfini starred in the independently produced Down the Shore which was shot in Keansburg, Hazlet and Atlantic Highlands in 2008. The film grossed only $4800 when it opened last April.
While shooting in Down the Shore, Gandolfini shopped at IEI, Victor Scudiery’s retail electronics outlet at Airport Plaza in Hazlet. Scudiery tells us that the actor bought a stereo receiver for his trailer. IEI’s staff let Gandolfini be, not bothering him for autographs or pictures, but they excitedly saved the security footage of his purchase.
Part 5 of James Gandolfini’s 2004 interview with James Liption of the Actor’s Studio. At the 5:16 mark, Lipton asks Gandolfini what he hopes God will say to him when he gets to the pearly gates.
Trenton, NJ – Governor Chris Christie released the following statement tonight on the tragic passing of New Jersey native James Gandolfini:
“It’s an awful shock. James Gandolfini was a fine actor, a Rutgers alum and a true Jersey guy. I was a huge fan of his and the character he played so authentically, Tony Soprano. I have gotten to know Jimmy and many of the other actors in the Sopranos cast and I can say that each of them are an individual New Jersey treasure. Mary Pat and I express our deepest sympathies to Mr. Gandolfini’s wife and children, and our prayers are with them at this terrible time.”