RIP James Gandolfini: A Jersey Girl Pays Tribute

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Editor's note: The sudden death of Sopranos actor James Gandolfini in Italy yesterday prompted outpourings across social media. I really loved Theresa's memories of her fellow New Jersey native, an actor she considered one of her own. -- Julie

So, if the Sopranos are where we live, James Gandolfini is who we are. He is our friend, cousin, brother, neighbor. He is not so distant from us. A few weeks ago, we were at my brother's house for a barbecue and he was talking about how someone he works with grew up with James Gandolfini in North Jersey and how James still comes for barbecues, still hangs with the old crew and is completely down to earth, it's like they all just have jobs and his is acting. Maybe he has more money than everyone else, but he still puts his pants on one leg at a time and he still knows where to find good pizza and that his mama's sauce is the best in the world. He is one of us.

Actor James Gandolfini

Image: James Gandolfini as New Jersey-based Italian-American mobster Tony Soprano. © HBO/Entertainment Pictures/ZUMAPRESS.com

Read more from RIP James Gandolfini 1961-2013 at Red Oak Road

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