James Gandolfini passed away yesterday June 19, 2013 in Rome, Italy. The American born actor was of Italian descent and is best known for his role as Tony Soprano, a New Jersey mafia boss on the HBO drama The Sopranos (1999-2007).
However, I was most impressed by his work on Alive Day: Home from Iraq (2007) documenting the trials and tribulations of injured Iraq war veterans returning home. The documentary follows the reintegration of these soldiers back into everyday life. It also depicts interviews where the cast reflects on near deadly days overseas.
In 2010, in collaboration with HBO, Gandolfini produced his second documentary Wartorn: 1861- 2010 (2010). The documentary examines effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) throughout American history. The documentary includes interviews with service members and their families who are affected by PTSD, as well as an examination of letters from soldiers during the Civil War and World War I.
As we mourn the death of a great actor, we feel the even greater loss of an advocate for heroes returning home from combat zones.
RIP James Gandolfini (Sept. 18, 1961 – June 19, 2013)