An envelope arrived in the mail the other day. The address was handwritten. It was sent from Montvale, New Jersey. Neither Nancy nor I know anyone from Montvale.
The card inside was also handwritten. It was from James Gandolfini’s sisters, Leta Gandolfini and Johanna Antonacci and their families.
Nancy and I (Nancy especially) were big James Gandolfini fans. His portrayal of gangster Tony Soprano was a tour de force. You hated him, feared him, loved him and wanted to protect him all at the same time.
When he died so suddenly, with so much work left to do, and so much talent untapped, we wanted to express our sadness, our respect and our gratitude for the work he did.
Before he died, he produced a powerful and important documentary called “Alive Day.” That’s what badly wounded soldiers call the day they survived. His family asked that contributions be made in his name to The Wounded Warrior Project. We made one, and hoped that many others would too, as a tribute to the man and his work and as a comfort to his family.
The fact that we received a handwritten thank you note from his family confirms our sense that this big bear of a man had sensibilities and commitments that ran very deep and that his family loved him for who he was, not what he did. It also tells us that he respected and appreciated his fans, and that his family knew that, and wanted to act on his behalf in a way that showed those fans that respect.