When James Gandolfini died of a massive heart attack yesterday, it only took moments for fans of the Sopranos actor to flock to the New Jersey diner that he helped make famous. The actor was vacationing in Italy when he passed away at the young age of 51.
Following his death, Holsten’s Brookdale Confectionary in Bloomfield, New Jersey became a setting of remembrance.
Holsten’s owner Chris Carley even took a moment to speak with ABC News station WABC-TV: “One night he brought sushi in for everybody. It was very nice.”
In fact, Tony Soprano and his family became such a popular part of the restaurant that a plaque now sits at their table and reads: “This booth reserved for the Soprano family.”
James Gandolfini has his own “reserved” sign in the very seat where he sat while filming the incredibly popular HBO series.
Sitting in the restaurant on Wednesday night, fans shared their favorite scenes from The Sopranos.
New Jersey born and bred James Gandolfini not only lived the part of Tony Soprano; he was heavily invested in his hometown. Born on September 18, 1961, Gandolfini attended Park Ridge High School and then remained in New Brunswick, New Jersey where he attended Rutgers University and graduated in 1983 with a B.S. in Communications.
Through his role as Tony Soprano, the actor managed to rack up three Emmy awards and numerous other accolades.
James Gandolfini was such a big part of New Jersey that, following his death, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie released the following statement:
“I was a huge fan of his and the character he played so authentically, Tony Soprano,” Christie said. “I have gotten to know Jimmy and many of the other actors in ‘The Sopranos’ cast and I can say that each of them are an individual New Jersey treasure. [His wife] Mary Pat and I express our deepest sympathies to Mr. Gandolfini’s wife and children, and our prayers are with them at this terrible time.”Gandolfini, an Italian-American, was born to play the role of Tony Soprano that brought him icon status in the 86 episodes of the series. The Tony Soprano character redefined the mobster stereotype for a new audience.”
In the meantime, Tony Soprano’s character and James Gandolfini’s life continue to be celebrated in real life and all across the web where saddened Twitter and Facebook users continue to share their favorite moments from the famed actor.
While James Gandolfini’s life came to a tragic early end, his memory will live on in the most unlikely of places: a small restaurant in Bloomfield, New Jersey.