Last week brought the shocking and tragic news that 'The Sopranos' star and all-around acclaimed actor James Gandolfini died suddenly of a heart attack while on vacation in Italy with his family. Today in Manhattan, thousands gathered for the funeral service at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, among them celebrities and 'Sopranos' alum, while series creator David Chase delivered a moving eulogy for the actor.
Richard Matheson, one of the most important creators in the history of genre fiction, passed away at the age of 87. Even those who haven't read his novels or stories have felt his considerable influence and it's safe to say that horror, science-fiction and fantasy wouldn't be what they are today without his fingerprints.
James Gandolfini's passing at the relatively young age of 51 comes at a shock. I hope it isn't too inappropriate to say that the startling news reminds me of the ending of the show with which he'll forever be most closely associated, 'The Sopranos.'
It's the shock of an abrupt cut-to-black, followed by emptiness.
In 2012, Gandolfini gave two outstanding film performances in 'Killing Them Softly' and 'Not Fade Away,' and while neither were widely seen, I was definitely looking forward to a post-'Sopranos' career of wildly divergent and interesting turns from a man who didn't need to make any more money and had the acting chops to take on challenging and unique roles.
Annette Funicello, best known as one of the original "Mouseketeers" on Walt Disney's 'Mickey Mouse Club' has passed away at the age of 70.