Hitfix’s Alan Sepinwall provided the transcript to The Sopranos creator’s euology of James Gandolfini today at the actor’s NYC funeral attended by castmates Edie Falco, Lorraine Bracco, Steve Buscemi, Julianna Margulies, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Joe Pantoliano, Dominic Chianese, Steve Schirripa, Aida Turturro, Vincent Curatola, Tony Sirico, Michael Imperioli, as well as the show’s executive producer Brad Grey. Others included Alec Baldwin, Chris Noth, Marcia Gay Harden, Steve Carell, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. The 51-year-old Gandolfini died Wednesday of a heart attack in Italy. Chase was one of four speakers, including Gandolfini’s widow, who spoke at one of Manhattan’s largest churches Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine and gave his remarks in the form of a letter to the actor and quoted from Joan Osborne’s “(What If God Was) One Of Us?”:
Related: Mike Fleming On Memories Of Covering James Gandolfini
Your family asked me to speak at your service, and I am so honored and touched. I’m also really scared, and I say that because you of all people will understand this. I’d like to run away and call in four days from now from the beauty parlor. I want to do a good job, because I love you, and because you always did a good job.
I think the deal is I’m supposed to speak about the actor/artist’s work part of your life. Others will have spoken beautifully and magnificently about the other beautiful and magnificent parts of you: father, brother, friend. I guess what I was told is I’m also supposed to speak for your castmates whom you loved, for your crew that you loved so much, for the people at HBO, and Journey. I hope I can speak for all of them today and for you.
I asked around, and experts told me to start with a joke and a funny anecdote. “Ha ha ha.” But as you yourself so often said, I’m not feelin’ it. I’m too sad and full of despair. I’m writing to you partly because I would like to have had your advice. Because I remember how you did speeches. I saw you do a lot of them at awards shows and stuff, and invariably you would scratch two or three thoughts on a sheet of paper and put it in your pocket, and then not really refer to it. And consequently, a lot of your speeches didn’t make sense. I think that could happen in here, except in your case, it didn’t matter that it didn’t make sense, because the feeling was real. The feeling was real. The feeling was real. I can’t say that enough.
I tried to write a traditional eulogy, but it came out like bad TV. So I’m writing you this letter, and now I’m reading that letter in front of you. But it is being done to and for an audience, so I’ll give the funny opening a try. I hope that it’s funny; it is to me and it is to you.
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