I normally don’t mark celebrity deaths, but I felt the need to write about James Gandolfini, the star of the hit show “The Sopranos” because he was one of my first “celebrity” interviews when I started out in the journalism field.
It was a Saturday, and he was being honored by Rutgers University into some type of Hall of Fame. I was warned how he really didn’t like to talk with the media, but would be in the room where we were gathered.
Ended up, his college buddy, Mario Batali was being honored as well. Gandolfini was very reserved and spoke very little at first, but was super nice and answered a few of my questions. Then, Batali walked in.
The goofy, lovable chef’s personality filled the small press room at the New Brunswick hotel we were at, and he immediately began joking and teasing with Gandolfini. I heard stories about the antics they used to pull in college, the bars they used to frequent and how they were, ” just a couple of mooks,”
He was humble, reserved and exactly what you hope for in a Hollywood star when you meet them.