Arguably one of the greatest actors of our time died on last Thursday. James Gandolfini was an acquaintance of mine. Larger than life, he created characters that were real and wasn't afraid to show himself -- warts and all.
The idea that a heart attack is "natural" for a man of only 51 is a dangerous fallacy that medicine has tried very hard to dispel. A heart attack is a disease state caused by specific circumstances, and it needs to -- and can -- be prevented.
Gandolfini, an accomplished actor, became inseparable from his greatest role, fictional mob boss Tony Soprano whose profound, yet seriously cracked persona anchored the groundbreaking HBO series that bears his name.
We crave real portrayals of people like ourselves: people who can be confused, get angry, celebrate joyous moments and sometimes feel rejected and unloved. James Gandolfini made Tony Soprano, the Jersey mob boss, one of us.