Like many people, when the announcement came through that renowned actor James Gandolfini had died of a massive heart attack at the age of 51, we couldn't believe what we were reading. It was so shocking that other news organizations like CNN thought that it might be a hoax as Gandolfini's name had been linked to such things in the past.

Sadly, this was not the case.

In the ensuing hours after the announcement a lot of things were bandied about. Causes, how the actor lived, what kind person he was... And the one constant that wasn't a surprise to anybody was the fact that James Gandolfini was one helluva an actor. Simply adding him to a movie, in a role big or small, elevated that project.

So it is with complete respect and devotion that we present 10 Reasons Why James Gandolfini Was One of the Greatest Actors of Our Time.

1 Tony Soprano in The Sopranos

Tony Soprano in The Sopranos

As the character of Tony Soprano, James Gandolfini made us all respect the gangster dad from suburbia. He was tough as nails but he was also a vulnerable family man. In a show that spanned 6 seasons we saw this screen legend go through every up and down imaginable. From fighting with kids, separating from his wife, killing his friends, consolidating his power, it was a relentless barrage of the everyman that kept us tuning in. So special was this show that it became one of the first pay TV shows to A) make Sunday night an event on cable and B) make people realize that the best stuff on TV was not being produced by the three biggest networks. In the final episode, we were left wondering what happened to the Soprano clan. Were they killed as they ate that meal? Did they leave unscathed and go about their lives? There was fury by many people who didn't like the absence of closure to that show. Some people say that the ending was brilliant because of that. What it all boils down to is that people loved this show and, like the loss of Gandolfini now, nobody was going to be happy whatever the outcome because Tony Soprano was gone.

Evan Jacobs