The media are filled with well-deserved appreciations of James Gandolfini of "The Sopranos" after he died way-to-soon Wednesday in Italy at the age of 51.
The focus has been on his outstanding performance as mob boss Tony Soprano, which earned the actor three Emmy Awards.
Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez of Democracy Now! today reported on a more intriguing aspect of Gandolfini's life: support for wounded combat veterans and community media in downtown Manhattan.
|Gandolfini speaks to injured war vet Dawn Halfaker for "Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq." Photo: HBO
Parlaying on his HBO celebrity, Gandolfini produced "Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq" in 2007 and "Wartorn: 1861-2010" for the pay cable network.
In Alive Day, Gandolfini interviewed soldiers who spoke eloquently about the day they were wounded and dreams/fears of the future.
A woman, who lost an arm in Iraq, worried about attracting a boyfriend and being able to cradle her baby next to her chest. Wartorn dealt with post-traumatic stress disorder from the Civil War to Afghanistan.
Gandolfini also was a board member of the Downtown Community Television Center, a Lafayette St. media arts facility that believes a "diversity of expression strengthens our democracy and enhances civil society."
Upon his election to the DCTV board in April, Gandolfini said: "Of the many honors that I have been unworthy of, I must say that joining the board of directors of DCTV ranks at the top."
He said of DCTV co-founder Jon Alpert: "I love the way Jon involves young people, provides support to the community, and the way he does what he believes in with passion and truth."
DCTV is opening the country's first fully interactive digital cinema dedicated to documentaries in its 1896 landmarked firehouse headquarters. It is slated for 2015.
Gandolfini was a member of the new theater's advisory council. Albert, who co-directed Alive Day, should name the place after his old friend.