An Untold Story About James Gandolfini: Giving Up the Roles We Play

August 7, 2014 7:55 PM

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An Untold Story About James Gandolfini: Giving Up the Roles We Play

My oldest child and James Gandolfini's son went to pre-school together. I didn't know James well, but he was always friendly towards everyone and attended many of the birthday parties and events at the school. At the end of the first school year there was a birthday party on the playground for one of the children. The parents throwing the party hired a clown who was trying to keep the children entertained by blowing up balloons and making animals and other figures out of them. The clown seemed totally overwhelmed and mayhem was breaking out among the children. I remember watching as it only got worse until all of the kids were screaming and half of them were crying. The performer was really struggling. And then I saw James strolling over to the clown and saying, "Let me help you." James sat down by the balloon machine and started blowing up balloons and passing them to the clown. The minute James started helping the clown, the children calmed down and everyone had a great time. James also helped him with other parts of his performance until the end of the party.

Interestingly, although I also saw the performer struggling, it never occurred to me to try to help. I could rationalize that James understood the performer's struggle because he was an entertainer, but that would not recognize what really had happened. James had dropped his identity as an Emmy-awar...

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