Edie Falco Fights Back Tears During James Gandolfini Tribute at Emmys

'Sopranos' co-star remembers 'Jim the man, a very dear man'

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Edie Falco fought back tears last night at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards during a speech paying tribute to her Sopranos co-star James Gandolfini, who died on June 19th of a heart attack at 51.

"His portrayal of Tony Soprano had such depth and dimension that a lot of people still have a hard time believing that's not who he really was," Falco said. "Well, I'm here to tell you, Jim was really quite different. He had tremendous warmth and heart. He was kind and uniquely generous."

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As an example, she recounted his work outside of The Sopranos and his devotion to family and friends, saying, "One got the feeling Jim was never entirely comfortable with all the attention he got . . . he was far more interested in turning the light onto people he considered more worthy. While interviewing Iraqi war veterans for a project very close to his heart, he did so with such genuine interest, respect and humility. Over the years I was particularly moved by Jim's devotion to his family, and to his fierce loyalty to his friends. If you needed anything at all, ever, Jim was there."

Toward the end of her speech, Falco began to cry: "You all knew James Gandolfini, the actor. But I was lucky enough to know Jim, the man – for 10 years as his close colleague, pretend life partner and for many more years as his friend. And it's Jim the man, a very dear man, that I will miss most of all."

During the course of its six-season run on HBO (1999-2007), The Sopranos received a whopping 111 Emmy nominations and 21 wins, including three each for Gandolfini and Falco.