SOPRANO STAR JAMES GANDOLFINI LOOKED AT THE ‘BOOK OF THE DEAD’ AT VATICAN MUSEUM HOURS BEFORE HE DIED

 James Gandolfini ironically looked at Book of the Dead hours before dying

The star of The Sopranos’ spent at least an hour taking in the Egyptian gallery at the Vatican Museum, where newlywed Priscilla McGlaughlin took some of the last photos of the 51-year-old actor before he was felled by a massive heart attack. Her husband, John, said he looked pale and was sweating heavily, but gave no sign of being at death’s door.

Newlyweds Priscilla and John McGlaughlin were at the Vatican Museum the same time as James Gandolfini — just hours before he died. In one of the last photos of the 51-year-old actor, the ‘Sopranos’ star is shown looking at what turned out to be a presciently named display: ‘It’s eerie because she took the picture through a glass case and on either side of him he’s flanked by coffin lids with hieroglyphics from the Book of the Dead,’ John McGlaughlin said.

 Just hours before he died, actor James Gandolfini was drawn to the Egyptian gallery at the Vatican Museum where a macabre manuscript with a chilling title is on display — the Book of the Dead.

The star of “The Sopranos” and his son Michael spent at least an hour taking in the mummies and studying the hieroglyphics emblazoned on the coffins — ancient texts drawn directly from the ominous book that describe the journey of the newly dead into the underworld.

And it was here that newlywed Priscilla McGlaughlin of Philadelphia took some of the last photos of the 51-year-old actor before he was felled by a massive heart attack.

“It’s eerie because she took the picture through a glass case and on either side of him he’s flanked by coffin lids with hieroglyphics from the Book of the Dead,” said John McGlaughlin, 29. “We didn’t think anything of it at the time. Then we got back from our honeymoon and found out he was dead.”

McLaughlin said the actor, who rocketed to fame playing mob boss Tony Soprano on the popular HBO series, looked pale and was sweating heavily. But he gave no sign of being at death’s door.

“It was hot as hell that day and really humid, and he was wearing jeans and a shirt,” McLaughlin said. “I had shorts on and I was miserable.”

At one point, the newlywed said, he patted Gandolfini on the back, startling him.

Yearbook photo of a teenage James Gandolfini.

Ken Murray/New York Daily News

Yearbook photo of a teenage James Gandolfini.

“I felt like such an idiot, so I gave him a thumbs-up,” he said.  “I thought he was going to knock me out. But he gave me a sort of smile. I felt bad afterward, like a total fanboy.”

This was a little after noon last Wednesday. Eleven hours later, Gandolfini was gone.

His shattered widow, Deborah Lin, has chosen to hold his funeral at 10 a.m. Thursday at a venue big enough for his “Sopranos” castmates and thousands of fans — the landmark Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in Morningside Heights.

Tony Soprano would not have been caught dead in a Protestant church — and Gandolfini, a son of Italian immigrants, was raised Catholic.

But St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Lin’s first choice, was already booked, sources said.

Lin also wanted the wake to be held in Manhattan, where they lived. The rest of the Gandolfini clan wanted both the wake and service to be in his native New Jersey, where on Monday flags flew at half-mast in his memory.

RELATED: GANDOLFINI FUNERAL SET FOR THURSDAY IN NEW YORK

The believed casket of actor James Gandolfini is delivered to the Robert Spearing Funeral Home in Park Ridge, N.J., on Monday.

David Handschuh/New York Daily News

The believed casket of actor James Gandolfini is delivered to the Robert Spearing Funeral Home in Park Ridge, N.J., on Monday.

So the compromise, sources said, was a private, invitation-only wake for family and close friends at the Robert Spearing Funeral home in Park Ridge, N.J., to be held this Wednesday afternoon.

The casket bearing Gandolfini’s body, flown back from Rome on Sunday, was delivered to the funeral home Monday covered with a gray shroud. After the funeral, Gandolfini will be cremated, sources said.

On Monday, Gandolfini was mourned by the person who got him started in show business — his high school drama teacher.

“I picked him for his first role, I’m afraid I started it all,” said Ann Comarato, who taught Gandolfini at Park Ridge High School.

The charismatic junior beat out a dozen of other teenage thespians for the part of Jonathan Brewster in “Arsenic and Old Lace.”

“He was pretty relaxed and pretty intense at the same time, if you can believe that,” Comarato said.James

In a yearbook message, Gandolfini wrote to her: “I’m a pain in the ass and I need someone to keep my but [sic] in line. Thanks for the good times and the help. When I’m a rich actor [awe] I’ll visit you.”

Ann Comarato was James Gandolfini's drama teacher at Park Ridge High School. 'I picked him for his first role, I’m afraid I started it all,' she said. The charismatic junior beat out a dozen of other teenage thespians for the part of Jonathan Brewster in 'Arsenic and Old Lace,' pictures of which were published in the school's yearbook.

Ken Murray/New York Daily News

Ann Comarato was James Gandolfini’s drama teacher at Park Ridge High School. ‘I picked him for his first role, I’m afraid I started it all,’ she said. The charismatic junior beat out a dozen of other teenage thespians for the part of Jonathan Brewster in ‘Arsenic and Old Lace,’ pictures of which were published in the school’s yearbook.

He signed it, “Love, Fini.”

Gandolfini became a star, but he never forgot who set him on that path, Comarato said. And she giggled at the fact that he became famous playing a foul-mouth mob chief.

“I used to tell him in high school, ‘Watch the F-word,’” she said. “He would tell me, ‘Watch the show and count how many times I say the F-word. And they are paying me for it.’”

For Comarato, Gandolfini is “always 18-years-old.”

“To me he was always Jimmy or Fini,” she said.

With Chelsia Rose Marcius.

RELATED: GANDOLFINI BODY BACK IN THE U.S.

James Gandolfini wrote this yearbook message to his theater teacher at Park Ridge High School, Ann Comarato, exemplifying his funny and caring character.

 

James Gandolfini wrote this yearbook message to his theater teacher at Park Ridge High School, Ann Comarato, exemplifying his funny and caring character.

Just hours before he died, actor James Gandolfini was drawn to the Egyptian gallery at the Vatican Museum where a macabre manuscript with a chilling title is on display — the Book of the Dead.

The star of “The Sopranos” and his son Michael spent at least an hour taking in the mummies and studying the hieroglyphics emblazoned on the coffins — ancient texts drawn directly from the ominous book that describe the journey of the newly dead into the underworld.

And it was here that newlywed Priscilla McGlaughlin of Philadelphia took some of the last photos of the 51-year-old actor before he was felled by a massive heart attack.

“It’s eerie because she took the picture through a glass case and on either side of him he’s flanked by coffin lids with hieroglyphics from the Book of the Dead,” said John McGlaughlin, 29. “We didn’t think anything of it at the time. Then we got back from our honeymoon and found out he was dead.”

McLaughlin said the actor, who rocketed to fame playing mob boss Tony Soprano on the popular HBO series, looked pale and was sweating heavily. But he gave no sign of being at death’s door.

“It was hot as hell that day and really humid, and he was wearing jeans and a shirt,” McLaughlin said. “I had shorts on and I was miserable.”

At one point, the newlywed said, he patted Gandolfini on the back, startling him.

The Robert Spearing Funeral Home Park Ridge, N.J., is reported to be the location for actor James Gandolfini's funeral.

David Handschuh/New York Daily News

The Robert Spearing Funeral Home Park Ridge, N.J., is reported to be the location for actor James Gandolfini’s funeral.

“I felt like such an idiot, so I gave him a thumbs-up,” he said.  “I thought he was going to knock me out. But he gave me a sort of smile. I felt bad afterward, like a total fanboy.”

This was a little after noon last Wednesday. Eleven hours later, Gandolfini was gone.

His shattered widow, Deborah Lin, has chosen to hold his funeral at 10 a.m. Thursday at a venue big enough for his “Sopranos” castmates and thousands of fans — the landmark Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in Morningside Heights.

Tony Soprano would not have been caught dead in a Protestant church — and Gandolfini, a son of Italian immigrants, was raised Catholic.

But St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Lin’s first choice, was already booked, sources said.

Lin also wanted the wake to be held in Manhattan, where they lived. The rest of the Gandolfini clan wanted both the wake and service to be in his native New Jersey, where on Monday flags flew at half-mast in his memory.

RELATED: ‘SOPRANOS’ CO-STAR REMEMBERS JAMES GANDOLFINI

James Gandolfini and his wife, Deborah Lin, attended the premiere of 'Iris — A Journey Into the World of Cinema by Cirque du Soleil' at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, Calif., in September 2011.

Steve Granitz/WireImage

James Gandolfini and his wife, Deborah Lin, attended the premiere of ‘Iris — A Journey Into the World of Cinema by Cirque du Soleil’ at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, Calif., in September 2011.

So the compromise, sources said, was a private, invitation-only wake for family and close friends at the Robert Spearing Funeral home in Park Ridge, N.J., to be held this Wednesday afternoon.

The casket bearing Gandolfini’s body, flown back from Rome on Sunday, was delivered to the funeral home Monday covered with a gray shroud. After the funeral, Gandolfini will be cremated, sources said.

On Monday, Gandolfini was mourned by the person who got him started in show business — his high school drama teacher.

“I picked him for his first role, I’m afraid I started it all,” said Ann Comarato, who taught Gandolfini at Park Ridge High School.

The charismatic junior beat out a dozen of other teenage thespians for the part of Jonathan Brewster in “Arsenic and Old Lace.”

“He was pretty relaxed and pretty intense at the same time, if you can believe that,” Comarato said

In a yearbook message, Gandolfini wrote to her: “I’m a pain in the ass and I need someone to keep my but [sic] in line. Thanks for the good times and the help. When I’m a rich actor [awe] I’ll visit you.”

He signed it, “Love, Fini.”

Gandolfini became a star, but he never forgot who set him on that path, Comarato said. And she giggled at the fact that he became famous playing a foul-mouth mob chief.

“I used to tell him in high school, ‘Watch the F-word,’” she said. “He would tell me, ‘Watch the show and count how many times I say the F-word. And they are paying me for it.’”

For Comarato, Gandolfini is “always 18-years-old.”

“To me he was always Jimmy or Fini,” she said.

With Chelsia Rose Marcius.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/gandolfini-mourned-woman-cast-article-1.1381276#ixzz2XDJiA9vu

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