It’s been a week since Actor James Gandolfini, the man who made us root for the bad guy in the hit HBO series, The Sopranos, died, but news about his work with rescue dogs is just now coming to light.
His last film, “Animal Rescue,” which stars a pit bull puppy, is set for release in 2014.
Gandolfini, was not only notorious for the role he was made famous by, but was also notorious for being media shy. According to many reports, he tried as much as possible to keep his personal life and altruistic endeavors as quiet as possible.
As a big fan of the show (it ranks up there in my Top 5 favorites of all time) and also as an animal and pit bull advocate, it came as a surprise to me this week when I read that Gandolfini was a big advocate for rescuing pit bulls and even had one of his own, a handsome guy named Duke.
In the movie, “Animal Rescue,” which is actually a crime drama, Gandolfini played in his last movie role the owner of a bar and according to the Los Angeles Times, a mentor of sorts to a younger bartender who gets into some trouble with gangsters.
The LA Times reporter learned that Gandolfini, as was often reported, didn’t act like the star he actually was, but like a regular Joe, someone who wasn’t too big to eat lunch with the crew – not the other stars of the film, but the actual crew – and who talked about regular Joe type things with them, including dogs, which was a central theme of the film.
Last Chance Animal Rescue, a non-profit advocating for animals in kill shelters, wrote on their Facebook page last week, “We are very saddened to hear of the sudden passing of James Gandolfini, pictured here with his rescue Duke. A great actor and wonderful advocate for an often misunderstood breed. ... Much beloved by those who worked with him and known to be a kind and gentle soul, we applaud his efforts to provide a voice for the voiceless and our prayers are with his wife and children, his family and friends as they mourn the loss of a life too short lived.”
It’s always sad when someone who had such influence over our pop culture dies far too young, but it is even sadder when these stars didn’t spend their free time reveling in their celebrity, but spent it trying to make the world a better place for the people and the animals in it.
Editor’s Note: Photo of James Gandolfini’s dog, Duke, from The Last Chance Rescue Facebook page.