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Celebrities gather for beloved actor James Gandolfini's NY funeral

28 JUNE 2013

Thousands of family, friends and fans gathered in New York for the late Sopranos actor James Gandolfini's funeral on Thursday morning.

Fellow actors and key figures from the beloved 51-year-old's career arrived at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, one of the biggest churches in Manhattan, to pay their respects at the emotional service.

Among the star-studded crowd were New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former talk show host Dick Cavett and Alec and Hilaria Baldwin.

 



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The Sopranos cast members were also in attendance, including Edie Falco, who played James's on-screen wife Camilla, Joe Pantoliano, Dominic Chianese, Steve Schirripa, Aida Turturro, Vincent Curatola, Vincent Pantore and Michael Imperioli.

Steve Buscemi, who played Tony Soprano's cousin and also directed four episodes of the hit HBO series was also at the service as well as Jamie-Lynn Sigler, who played the mafia boss's daughter Meadow and was clearly upset at the service.

James's widow Deborah Lin Gandolfini was the first to speak to the crowd of more than 1,500 mourners. In a brief yet touching speech, the mum of the couple's eight-month-old baby daughter Liliana remembered her husband as a devoted father for whom "family and friends meant everything.

"I love you, Jim, and I always will," said Deborah Lin in her emotional farewell.

 



James Gandolfini, best known for his role as mob moss Tony Soprano in The Sopranos, died while on holiday in Italy with his 13-year-old son on 19 June.

Another speaker at the funeral was David Chase, creator of The Sopranos, shared warm memories of the late actor over the years in the form of a letter written to James.

"You were a good boy," read David, going on to recall what the actor once said to him: "You know what I want to be? A man. That's all. I want to be a man."

The director then added how he had marvelled at the revelation, since the stage and screen star represented a man so many others wanted to be.

The funeral service on Thursday followed the invitation-only wake that took place on Wednesday in New Jersey, close to where the actor grew up.

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