POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jun 28, 2013
NEW YORK » The funeral of James Gandolfini took place in one of the largest churches in the world and didn't stint on ceremony.
Still, the estimated 1,500 mourners who gathered Thursday in New York's Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine seemed part of an intimate affair. They came to pay their respects to a plain but complex man whose sudden death eight days before had left all of them feeling a loss.
During the service, Gandolfini was remembered by David Chase, the creator of "The Sopranos," as an actor who had brought a key element to mob boss Tony Soprano: Tony's inner child-like quality.
For a man who, in so many ways, was an unrepentant brute, that underlying purity was what gave viewers permission to love him.
"You brought ALL of that to it," said Chase in remarks he delivered as if an open letter to his fallen friend and "Sopranos" star.
Even though Gandolfini was a formidable man both on and off the screen, Chase also saw him as a boy — "sad, amazed, confused and loving," he summed up, addressing his subject: "You could see it in your eyes. And that's why you are a great actor."
The 51-year-old Gandolfini died of a heart attack last week while vacationing with his 13-year-old son in Italy. It was cruel end to a holiday meant to be part of a summer that Gandolfini was devoting to his family — including his son and his 9-month-old daughter — by even turning down a movie role, according to Susan Aston, who for decades was Gandolfini's dialogue coach.
Aston said he told her, "I don't want to lose any of the time I have with Michael and Lily this summer."
The actor's widow, Deborah Lin Gandolfini, also spoke at the ceremony, as did longtime friend Thomas Richardson, who affectionately described Gandolfini as a man "who hugged too tight and held too long."
For Thursday's service, celebrities and fellow actors helped make up the capacity audience.
Those from "The Sopranos" included Edie Falco, Joe Pantoliano, Dominic Chianese, Steve Schirripa, Aida Turturro, Vincent Curatola, Tony Sirico, Lorraine Bracco, Steve Buscemi and Michael Imperioli.
Others from the entertainment community included Julianna Margulies, Alec Baldwin, Chris Noth, Marcia Gay Harden, Dick Cavett and Steve Carell.
NBC News' Brian Williams was in attendance. So was New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Paparazzo's lawsuit alleges assault by Bieber
LOS ANGELES »Justin Bieber has been sued by a paparazzo who claims the singer kicked and punched him last year at a Southern California shopping center.
A lawsuit filed Wednesday alleges the "Baby" crooner attacked Jose Osmin Hernandez Duran after Bieber and his then-girlfriend went to the movies at The Commons in Calabasas.
Bieber's representatives did not respond to a request for comment.
Duran claims Bieber started to leave the shopping center in his Mercedes but got out of his car and sprinted toward him.
Duran says Bieber jumped into the air from six to eight feet away to deliver a martial-arts-type kick to the photographer's gut before punching him in the face.
The suit seeks unspecified damages.
Target is latest company to sever ties with Deen
NEW YORK » Target Corp. is announcing Thursday that it is ending its relationship with celebrity cook Paula Deen as fallout builds from revelations that the celebrity chef had used racial slurs.
The discounter said that it will phase out its Paula Deen-branded cookware and other items.
The announcement comes as diabetes drug maker Novo Nordisk says it and Deen have "mutually agreed to suspend our patient education activities for now."
On Wednesday, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it was ending its relationship with Deen. Last week the Food Network said it would not renew Deen's contract.
‘Terminator' franchise returns with new trilogy
LOS ANGELES » The "Terminator" is coming back.
Paramount announced Thursday that it is rebooting the "Terminator" franchise and planning for a new trilogy of films, but it's keeping mum on whether Arnold Schwarzenegger would play a role.
Schwarzenegger starred as the title character in the original 1984 movie. It spawned a trilogy that earned more than $1 billion at the box office worldwide.
Paramount says it will release the new "Terminator" in July 2015.