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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Loss of Giants

Written by Jon Williams

The entertainment world was rocked on Wednesday night by the tragic passing of actor James Gandolfini. He was 51.

Gandolfini was best known for his role as mob boss Tony Soprano in HBO’s hit series The Sopranos. Playing the part demanded a mix of violence and vulnerability, and Gandolfini was more than equal to the task. He won three Emmy Awards (and was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor each season) for his portrayal of the character during its six-season run. The show itself was recently named the Best Written TV Show Ever by the Writer’s Guild of America.

Gandolfini’s co-stars have expressed their shock and sorrow at the actor’s passing. “He was a man of tremendous depth and sensitivity,” said Edie Falco, who played Tony Soprano’s wife Carmela. Steven Van Zandt, who played the Soprano family’s consigliere Sil Dante, said, “The world has lost one of the greatest actors of all time.” And Sopranos creator David Chase called Gandolfini “…a genius…he was my brother in ways I can’t explain and never will be able to explain.”

Since The Sopranos ended in 2007, Gandolfini kept himself busy, appearing in recent movies such as The Incredible Burt Wonderstone and Zero Dark Thirty. For a full selection of titles featuring this talented, beloved actor, click here.

Sadly, that wasn’t the only loss the media industry suffered on Wednesday. Vince Flynn, author of political thrillers featuring agent Mitch Rapp, lost a battle with cancer on Wednesday. He was 47.

Former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush counted among Flynn’s fans. In fact, his portrayal of the CIA and its methods were known for being so accurate that President Bush once asked him where he got his information.

Flynn’s first novel, Term Limits (which is not a Rapp story), was published in 1997. His second novel, Transfer of Power, was the first to feature Rapp, and there are currently 13 novels in the Rapp series. The fourteenth, The Survivor, will be published in October.  He also consulted on the fifth season of the Fox series 24. Click here for a complete listing of Flynn’s novels.

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