News of James Gandolfini's death yesterday shocked many people, not least of all his childhood friend John Travolta. During an appearance on "Good Morning America" Thursday morning, the 59-year-old actor -- who appeared in films such as "Get Shorty" and "The Taking of Pelham" with his fellow New Jersey native -- declared that he would watch after Gandolfini's two children, Michael, 13, and Liliana, 8 months.
"My father sold tires to his father. I was his inspiration to get into the business. He would see pictures of me on the wall from movies and he decided that he wanted to be an actor."
Travolta added: "My goal is to make sure that his family is okay. His little boy, I watched him grow up, and his brand new little girl. We'll just make sure they're taken care of. That's the whole idea."
The generous statement comes after "The Sopranos" actor looked after Travolta through his own rough time: when Travolta's teenage son Jett abruptly died in 2009 from a seizure. He remembered fondly: "James went out of his way to come to Florida and he would not leave Florida until I was OK, or he felt that I would be fine. After a week I said, 'Jim you can really, you can, you know, we'll be fine. I've got a lot of support here.' But the idea that in our profession someone would go out of their way and not want to leave you until he felt you were OK, that's the kind of soul that James Gandolfini was."
Gandolfini died Thursday while vacationing abroad in Italy with son Michael, from his previous marriage to Marcy Wudarski. He leaves behind his current wife, Deborah Lin, and their 8-month-old daughter Liliana.