Gandolfini Death Sparks Fresh Appreciation for 'Sopranos' Legacy

People's Larry Hackett discusses the importance of the hit television series.
5:10 | 06/20/13

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Transcript for Gandolfini Death Sparks Fresh Appreciation for 'Sopranos' Legacy
Back now, for the latest on james gandolfini. Suffering a cardiac arrest and dying at age 51 yesterday in italy. So many memorable scenes from him. Take a look at some of the best. Mr. Soprano? Yeah. What did you see in tony that you could identify with and felt you could play? That he had no center left. And I really identified with that. And plus, it was -- you know, then you got to be funny on top of it. And the winner is, james gandolfini, "the sopranos." Like to mention nancy marchand. She couldn't be here tonight. I'm standing here because of her. He knows everything. He wants some lunch. I got eggplant. I don't want to do another mob guy for a long time. I had no more tricks. I couldn't pull anything out of the hat. The movie affected me. Seemed to have something to do with robert redford. Zero assaults. Zero fatalities. Some may question my methods. But they do work. When people die, it's scary. And they go alone. Now, the people that I send off, that have experienced love, they're a little less scared. I mean, they're still scared. But there's a calmness to them. And I think that comes from the knowledge that somebody somewhere loved them and cared for them and will miss them. Finally, jim, if heaven exists, what would you like to hear god say when you arrive at the pearly gates? Take over for a while. I'll be right back. Quick. Joining us now, larry hackett, editor of "people" magazine. I know you will be talking about this a lot. We'll be reading about it. So many tweets from celebrities and his peers. There was nothing about him. There is. I've been doing this for a long time. It's standard fare when something like this happens, the tributes pour in and everyone's wonderful. I'll tell you, in the case of this guy, I've been talking to a lot of people. And the honesty with which they say he was absolutely somebody who treated everybody the same. Never a moment of ego. At the height of his fame on "the sopranos" and you're talking about a character in the end, completely transformed television. Never an ego. Never those kind of things. Again, with the job I have and we have, you go to a lot of awards shows and charities and things. And the cast would appear together. And these guys were tight. They all hung out together. They loved each other's company. And you never saw a caste system. Where he was over here and the rest were over here. You have to believe it's really authentic. Setting aside the murder thing, though, there did seem to be a marriage of the man and the character. Absolutely. I'm a kid of new jersey. He had that guy down pat. Everything was authentic. As you said, he was -- the mix of horror and the frightening behavior. The explosiveness that character would have. And then, the kind of the feeding the ducks and taking care of the kids. And the lame dad advice he would give out, was terrific. So, a lot of that was the same kind of guy. He was way more mild mannered. When you hear him -- heard him speak, he didn't -- almost shy. Absolutely. He was catapulted to his fame. He had some character roles. AND SUDDENLY, HE'S THE 2000s' Version of archie bunker. I stumbled on an episode a couple of weekends ago. And you see -- he is the temple. It was an ensemble, to be sure. But it all did radiate from him. And it felt like I was back on sunday nights. All over again. You took all of the scenes from the show, those eight years, where the camera was on him and he wasn't saying anything. That's right. And you just looked at his face, you would probably have an hour of programming right there. It was moving the story along and giving it depth. I'm not an acting analyst. But you didn't know he was doing it. You found him on the screen. Absolutely. Will he be remembered as the guy that changed the way people watch television? This was the first time that people really searched the dial to try to find something that wasn't one of the major networks, that was on. Am I right with that? Absolutely. You look at the shows that people talk about now. "Mad men," or "breaking bad." Or "the walking dead," it's a different tv landscape. I mean, what's on television. And the way you get engrossed in these stories. And the authenticity of who the individuals are. David chase who wrote it, made it. If it was not tony soprano, it would have been another tv series on hbo. And also put jersey on the map. Hopefully, his legacy will not be that he began "jersey shore." But the cult of jersey was born out of this. All of it. And I'm from new jersey. People make it synonymous. Is it just like "the sopranos"? They nailed it. The star ledger on your driveway. All of the details down perfect. Thank you, larry. We're going to switch gears

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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