'Sopranos' cast reunites — with James Gandolfini's son — to mark 20th anniversary

Suzy Byrne
Editor, Yahoo Entertainment

The Sopranos cast reunited to mark the show’s 20th anniversary. It was bittersweet with the absence of series star James Gandolfini, who died five years ago, but the group had a special addition: the actor’s 19-year-old son, Michael Gandolfini.

From left: Robert Iler, Michael Gandolfini and Jamie-Lynn Sigler at  The Sopranos 20th anniversary panel discussion at SVA Theater on Jan. 9. (Photo: Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

An interview with 13 members of the cast aired on Thursday’s Today show — their biggest reunion to date — and started with a moment “for our Jimmy,” initiated by Lorraine Bracco, in which they held hands. “He’s here,” said Edie Falco, who played Tony Soprano’s wife, the unforgettable Carmela.

The group got emotional sharing memories of Gandolfini, who died suddenly of a heart attack in June 2013 while on a father-son trip with Michael(They were celebrating Michael’s graduation from junior high.) Through tears, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, who played Tony Soprano’s daughter, Meadow, talked about learning, after Gandolfini died, that he used to “check up” on her and her TV brother, Robert Iler. “The care he felt and the responsibility he felt, to make sure we were OK, you don’t find very often. It’s really special,” she said. Iler, who grabbed Sigler’s hand when she teared up, said, “He’s very, very missed.”

Edie Falco, left, and Lorraine Bracco attend  The Sopranos 20th anniversary panel discussion at SVA Theater on Jan. 9. (Photo: Theo Wargo/Getty Images)
Michael Imperioli, left, and Tony Sirico at  The Sopranos 20th anniversary panel Discussion at SVA Theater on Jan. 9. (Photo: Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

Vincent Pastore, the one and only Big Pussy, said Gandolfini “was the best,” which was a sentiment echoed by Steven Van Zandt, who played Silvio Dante. “As I said a thousand times, you’d do a scene with Jimmy Gandolfini, you walk away a better actor.” Dominic Chianese, who played Junior, also shed tears talking about a scene they did together when “he made me cry” by asking, “Don’t you love me?”

Bracco’s memories of “our big boy” were funnier, recalling their therapy session scenes. She played Tony’s shrink, Dr. Jennifer Melfi, and said when Gandolfini would finish his “four- or five-page monologue,” he’d be so relieved the cameras were no longer on him that “he would like strip and dance and take his clothes off” and “get all crazy.” Then she would be “like, ‘Hello! I have to do my lines here.’”

Maureen Van Zandt, Kathrine Narducci, Annabella Sciorra, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Edie Falco, Ilene S. Landress and Lorraine Bracco attend  The Sopranos 20th Anniversary Panel Discussion at SVA Theater on Jan. 9. (Photo: Mike Coppola/WireImage)

Gandolfini’s son from his first marriage to Marcy Wudarski was on hand Wednesday at the SVA Theater in New York City for The Sopranos 20th anniversary panel discussion — the same day the Today interview taped. He hugged it out with his dad’s TV kids on the red carpet. (Gandolfini also has a 6-year-old daughter, Liliana, from his second marriage to Deborah Lin.)

Michael wrote about the reunion on social media, saying, “Damn I’m lucky that I [got] to grow up around these people.” He called it “a beautiful reunion” with “big love all around.”

Sigler shared one of his posts along with a heart hand emoji, indicating that she loved “this reunion.”

Screengrab: Jamie-Lynn Sigler via Instagram

Michael, who often visited the Sopranos set as a kid, is following in his dad’s footsteps. He’s been studying at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and has appeared in HBO’s The Deuce. Michael also played a busboy in Ocean’s 8.

Michael in The Deuce:

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