The Sopranos creator David Chase released the following statement on the passing of James Gandolfini, who helped turn Chase’s iconic HBO character Tony Soprano into a household name:
“He was a genius,” Chase said. “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. For [his wife Deborah Lin] and [children] Michael and Liliana 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.”
Gandolfini passed away after suffering a heart attack at the age of 51.