News spread like wildfire on Twitter and other social networks last week when we learned that 51-year-old actor James Gandolfini passed away.
Gandolfini won three Emmys for his role as New Jersey mob chief Tony Soprano in the HBO drama "The Sopranos."
But off-screen, people who knew Gandolfini said he was quite different from the gruff character we watched on TV.
Here are some communication-related insights from Gandolfini, the New Jersey native who graduated from Rutgers University and appeared on Broadway:
1. "'The Sopranos' all came down to the writing. I wouldn't have been on for as long as I was if the writing weren't so good."
2. "I've been very lucky, considering what I look like and what I do."
3. "Good writing will bring you to places you don't even expect sometimes."
4. "Part of the fun of acting is the research, finding out about other people."
5. "Standing in public in other people's clothes, pretending to be someone else. It's a strange way for a grown man to make a living."
On screen, Tony Soprano's vernacular was a bit different. We will remember the character for his demeanor and sharp tongue.
You're supposed to be earners. That's why you've got the top positions."
"It's my mess. All my choices were wrong."
"If you can quote the rules, then you can obey them."
"Oh, poor baby. What do you want, a Whitman's Sampler? "
On wise guys:
"One thing about us wise guys. The hustle never ends."
In 2009, Gandolfini appeared on "Inside the Actor's Studio." Host James Lipton ended the interview with a question he poses to
all of his guests: "If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?"
Gandolfini paused, smiled and said, "Take over for a while, I'll be right back!"
A version of this article originally appeared on
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