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'The Sopranos' finale: Michael Imperioli shares his opinion on what it meant

EW has been taking a deeper look at some of the most iconic TV finales from shows such as Murphy BrownFriends, and Breaking Bad, but none were as controversial as the series finale of The Sopranos.

When the HBO series ended in 2007, many questions were left unanswered for fans concerning the fate of patriarch Tony and his family when the show cut to a black screen right before the credits. Creator David Chase has said in past interviews that “there was nothing definite about what happened” in the final scene at the diner but “if you look at the final episode really carefully, it’s all there.” To this date, fans are still debating what happened. EW sat down with Michael Imperioli to discuss his new film The M Word, but we couldn’t resist asking the Emmy winner’s opinion about that last seminal moment. Spoilers obviously ahead. READ FULL STORY

On the scene: Family, friends, and fans remember James Gandolfini at Manhattan funeral

They came in suits and shorts, heels and flip-flops, somber dresses, casual T-shirts — and at least one black tank top embellished with a message hand-written in alternating red, white, and green paint: “Riposa in Pace, Capo.”

“I have to show my respect,” the tank top’s designer — Assunta, a silver-haired woman from Yonkers — said, gesturing to her handiwork. “You can read it, if you like: ‘Rest in peace, Boss.’ That’s what he is. He was the boss.”

Assunta had gathered with what seemed like all of New York City’s Italian-American community — not to mention Mario Batali, Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi, Chris Christie, a gaggle of Sopranos cast members, and fans of countless other ethnic backgrounds — to say goodbye to James Gandolfini, who died suddenly of a heart attack June 19.

The funeral was held at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, which stands just south of Columbia University. (“It’s by Meadow [Soprano]!” Assunta explained.) Saint John also happens to be the fourth-largest church in the world, making it one of the only sites in New York capable of holding hordes of Gandolfini’s mourners.
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David Chase's eulogy for James Gandolfini -- FULL TEXT

Earlier this morning, friends, family, and hundreds of fans gathered to pay their respects to James Gandolfini at Manhattan’s Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine. Four mourners — Gandolfini’s wife, Deborah Lin Gandolfini; his assistant, Thomas Richardson; his acting coach, Susan Aston; and his old boss, Sopranos creator David Chase — delivered eulogies at the service.

A transcript of Chase’s speech, which he structured as a letter to his late friend, is reprinted below.

Dear Jim,

Your family asked me to speak at this service. I am so honored and touched. I’m also really scared, and I say that because you, of all people, understand this. I would like to run away and then call you four days from now from the beauty parlor. [Ed. note: That’s a reference to a 2002 incident in which Gandolfini disappeared from the set of The Sopranos, eventually calling the show’s production office four days later from a beauty salon in Brooklyn.]

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, the artist, the work part of your life. Others will have spoken beautifully about the other beautiful and magnificent parts of you — father, brother, friend. That’s what I was told. I’m supposed to also speak for your cast mates, who you loved; for your crew that you loved so much; the people at HBO; and Journey. I hope I can speak for all of them and pay credit to them and to you.

Experts told me to start with a joke, recite 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 running too 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, I think 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.

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