James Gandolfini is dead after suffering a heart attack in Italy today. The Sopranos star is remembered by the Hollywood community as an immensely talented actor and a "gentle giant."
"He was a genius," David Chase, creator of The Sopranos and director of Gandolfini's recent film Not Fade Away, told E! News. "Anyone who saw him even in the smallest of his performances knows that. He is one of the greatest actors of this or any time. A great deal of that genius resided in those sad eyes. I remember telling him many times, 'You don't get it. You're like Mozart.'"
"There would be silence at the other end of the phone," Chase recalled. "For [wife] Deborah and [son] Michael and [daughter] Lilliana this is crushing. And it's bad for the rest of the world. He wasn't easy sometimes. But he was my partner, he was my brother in ways I can't explain and never will be able to explain."
Other stars expressed their shock and grief on Twitter.
Rose McGowan: "I am heartbroken about James Gandolfini. He was a gentle giant and great man. I love this picture, I loved him."
Olivia Wilde: "James Gandolfini was a kind, funny, wonderful guy. I'm so lucky to have worked with him. Sending love to his family. Such a sad, sad day."
Susan Sarandon: "So sad to lose James Gandolfini. One of the sweetest, funniest, most generous actors I’ve ever worked with. Sending prayers to his family."
Steve Carell: "James Gandolfini. Unbelievably sad news. A fine man."
Damon Lindelof: "James Gandolfini. You created an icon. And you cut to black way too abruptly. Thank you, and rest in peace."
Josh Groban: "Thank you James Gandolfini for some of the most brilliant tv moments of all time. So sad!!!"
John McCain: "RIP James Gandolfini, one of the nicest guys I've ever met"
Rob Lowe: "James Gandoldini gave the greatest performance in the history of television. He was also a kind man. Condolences to his family."
Jonah Hill: "I'm truly heartbroken to hear that James Gandolfini has passed away. He is one of my all time favorite actors. Tragic loss."
Lucy Hale: "So sad to hear about James Gandolfini. RIP"
Nancy Sinatra: "#JamesGandolfini So tragic. Heart breaking. Wonderful man and one of the finest actors who ever lived. Godspeed, Jim & thank you."
Jimmy Kimmel: "I'm sadder about James Gandolfini than everyone else."
Will Arnett: "So saddened by news of James Gandolfini's death. What talent. He shall be missed."
John Stamos: "Chili Palmer: You any good? Bear: Am I any good? You were DAMN good Mr. Gandolfini and will be sorely missed. R.I.P."
Rainn Wilson: "Arrivederci, James Gandolfini. You were one of the great greats. We'll miss your dangerous, big heart. #RIPGandolfini"
Christina Applegate: "I am so deeply saddened by the untimely passing of sweet James Gandolfini! My heart is broken for his family!! I'm in shock"
Marlee Matlin: "Shocked at reading about the untimely passing of James Gandolfini. A man of enormous talent. What shocking and sad news."
Dominic Monagan: "Oh man James gandolfini died. Fantastic in the soprano, and true romance. A great talent."
Bethenny Frankel: "Just heard TV icon James Gandolfini has died. I'm shocked. I'm sad. I loved his work. My heart goes out to his family."
Kevin Smith: "RIP James Gandolfini! Your iconic portrayal of mob boss Tony Soprano gave soul to a monster and fostered perverse pride in the Garden State!"
Kristin Chenoweth: "NO. Not James Gandolfini. He was in my top 5 favorite actors EVER. :("
Busy Philipps: "So sad to hear about James Gandolfini. He was such an amazing actor and by all accounts a wonderful person. RIP."
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