The Sopranos

James Gandolfini’s Son Michael Pays Tribute to ‘The Sopranos’ at 25th Anniversary Celebration

Michael played a younger version of his dad’s character, Tony, in the ‘Sopranos’ prequel, ‘The Many Saints of Newark.’

Michael Gandolfini showed up for his dad, James Gandolfini, to the 25th anniversary of The Sopranos in New York City. The 24-year-old son of the late actor appeared at HBO’s event alongside his girlfriend, Mia Healey, and posed for photos with a few original cast members of the hit crime-drama show. 

The Cherry actor was photographed with Kathrine Narducci, who portrayed Charmaine Bucco on The Sopranos. The duo were seen sharing a sweet hug on the carpet as the cameras flashed. 

Nearly three years ago, Michael’s film The Many Saints of Newark was released. The movie is a prequel to The Sopranos and focuses on a young Tony (Michael). The plot explores the gang wars in Newark, New Jersey, throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Although the film was not successful at the box office, it was an emotional experience for Michael to portray his late father’s character. 

Michael Gandolfini

“I want to make my dad proud, but I want to make the fans proud,” Michael told Entertainment Tonight at the time. “I think Tony Soprano is one of the greatest characters ever alive, and [series creator] David [Chase] really trusted me and the whole cast trusted me to take on this role with William, who plays a younger Tony, and I’m just so grateful and honored that I got to do that.” 

Michael also recalled watching his dad work on set of the HBO show. He described what The Sopranos meant to him from his childhood, noting that it was “my dad in a robe eating some food during lunch, and me maybe sleeping in The Sopranos bed every now and then, but really, it was just like if my dad was a contractor, it was something that I would just kind of go and it was my dad’s job, you know, so I didn’t know it was unusual.” 

Michael Gandolfini and Kathrine Narducci
Erik Pendzich/Shutterstock

When the filmmaker and writer was cast, he released a statement about the “profound honor” it was to “continue my dad’s legacy while stepping into the shoes of a young Tony Soprano.” 

Michael’s father died at the age of 51 in 2013. Michael — who was just 14 at the time — found James unconscious in their hotel room. It was later confirmed that James died of a heart attack. 

As Michael carries on his father’s legacy in show business, the New York University student has pointed out that he intends to explore more than just acting. In fact, James even advised his son to avoid becoming an actor. 

“As I got older, [my dad] wanted me to play sports. I felt that burden,” Michael said in 2019, per ET. “I wanted to make him proud. And he said, ‘Don’t be an actor; be a director. They have the power.’” 

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