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This story first appeared in the July 19 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Jim was a tremendously emotionally intelligent actor. He was very perceptive and extremely focused. It was really easy to work with him because he’d give you so much, as a true actor does. We hit it off. He was really focused and always in character. It was remarkable. His face showed everything. His concentration was enormous. It only made me better. He really was wonderful to work with. In real life, he’s very centered. He’s really very emotional. Wonderful actor; wonderful natural actor. He was great. He was very focused on the set. But a real friend and a real sweetheart. Very humble and thoughtful. Caring and generous. He carried that show, he really did.
We were in Paris the first year going on French television. Everybody was getting dressed up. And I was in my room at the Plaza Athenee; you can’t get more glamorous and more regal. I was getting dressed, and I decided to walk out onto the inner balcony. Of course, my wife is back home in New York, and I was imagining myself having a very romantic affair — wouldn’t it be wonderful if Katharine Hepburn came out on the balcony or something? So I turn to my right, and there was this guy in his underwear and a robe smoking a cigar on the next balcony. It was Jimmy. We looked at each other, and we burst out laughing. That ruined the whole night for me. I’m sure Jimmy remembered that one.
God bless his soul. We always had a good time. You can imagine being at the Plaza and looking over and seeing this jamoni smoking a cigar in his shorts. It was very funny. He could have been going over his lines in his head. Who knows?
Read more tributes to Gandolfini below:
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