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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014

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In Movies & TV Commentary

James Gandolfini's funeral service was Thursday. Fans of the show "The Soprano's" remember the actor for bringing the dark character Tony to life. (PHOTO:

Saying goodbye to Tony Soprano

Goodbye Tony Soprano.

When news came of actor James Gandolfini's death earlier this month, the Hollywood world mourned the loss of one of their favorites.

Fans of the HBO mob series "The Sopranos" mourned as well. The actor personified a dark character that fans hated as much as they loved him. During his eulogy yesterday, show creator David Chase pointed to Gandolfini's ability to tap into emotions like a child does. The show's fan base identified with that boy in the character.

"The paradox about you as a man is that I always felt personally that with you, I was seeing a young boy. A boy about Michael (Gandolfini)'s age right now. Because you were very boyish. And about that age when humankind and life on the planet are opening up and putting on a show, really revealing themselves in all their beautiful and horrible glory. And I saw you as a boy, as a sad boy, amazed and confused and loving and amazed by all that," Chase said.

Other family members and friends remembered Gandolfini for the man he was, a loving father, a friend, someone who was generous with his time … but Chase had the assignment for remembering the craftsman who would bring characters to life.

"So Tony Soprano never changed, people say. He got darker. I don't know how they could misunderstand that. He tried, and he tried, and he tried. And you tried, and you tried, more than most of us, and harder than most of us, and sometimes you tried too hard," Chase said, recounting an incident where Gandolfini was shooting a scene with Steven Van Zandt and literally destroyed a refrigerator door.

"And so we finally had to call 'cut,' and we had to fix the refrigerator door — and it never really worked, because the gaffer tape showed, we couldn't get a new refrigerator, and it was a problem all day long," Chase said.

"(Talking of Gandolfini) I remember you saying, 'This role, this role. The places it takes me to, the things I have to do. It's so dark.' And I remember saying to you,' Did I tell you to destroy the refrigerator? Did it say anywhere in the script, 'Tony destroys a refrigerator'? It says 'Tony angrily shuts the refrigerator door.' That's what it says. You destroyed the refrigerator."

LAST DAY: WTMJ-TV Ch. 4's Melissa McCrady had her last day at the station today. You can read more about her future plans here.

NEWS NUMBERS: Even though there are more people in the world, there are fewer of us that count on traditional media sources to get information.

According to a recent survey by the American Society of News Editors, there are 2,600 fewer full-time editorial positions in newsrooms in 2012 than there was in 2011. The 6.4 percent drop only includes the results from 978 of the 1,382 daily newspapers in the U.S., according to the census.

Newspapers, with their staffers for digital and print editions, still account for the largest percentage of news workers in the information industry.

"That leaves the industry at 38,000 full-time professional editorial employees and is the first time that figure has been below 40,000 since the census began in 1978," according to a Pew research report.


SteveKabelowsky | June 29, 2013 at 7:54 a.m. (report)

Well said Jim.

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TosaJim | June 28, 2013 at 5:28 p.m. (report)

He was GREAT as Tony Soprano, but every other role I saw him in....he was still Tony Soprano....

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