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Gandolfini Fans Gather Outside 'Sopranos' North Caldwell Home

'He was down to earth, one of the guys, always pleasant,' said North Caldwell Police Chief Mark Deuer, who met Gandolfini while working security on 'The Sopranos' set.

As word spread that Sopranos star James Gandolfini had died Wednesday in Rome, fans took to the North Caldwell cul-de-sac that the HBO mob boss called home. 

Gandolfini's character Tony Soprano and family lived in a stately brick home on Aspen Drive, which became a focal point for fans' grief.

"I loved 'The Sopranos' ever since I was a young kid," said Wayne resident Jeff Gandolfo, who was one of the first to visit the house. "My dad has always watched it."

Gandolfini, a Bergen County native who attended Rutgers, was in Italy for the Taormina Film Festival where he was expected to appear as a guest for the closing gala on Saturday. He died after suffering a heart attack in Rome.

The home became an instant tourist attraction during and after the show's six seasons.

North Caldwell Police Chief Mark Deuer, who met Gandolfini while working security on set, said the actor would often join police officers for lunch.

"He was down to earth, one of the guys, always pleasant,” Deuer said. “He was a good guy. “

Deuer still keeps a photo of them together on his desk.

People took pictures Wednesday night in front of the North Caldwell house and left candles at the foot of the driveway. 

Meg, who declined to give her last name, was the second person to place a lit candle near the home's driveway. The Verona resident said her son, a 25-year-old television production student in Colorado, asked her to go to the house and light a candle.

"It's important to him. He's in film and I think Gandolfini was a real model, a real hero," she said. "[My son] saw the risk taking that Gandolfini did with his productions and saw it as a role model."

Frank, who declined to give his last name, said he lives near the Aspen Drive home and can remember crews filming at the residence.  

"We moved in and I can remember at least 200 cars in this area" when the show was filming, he said. "It was packed by people everywhere."

He recalled onlookers creeping through backyards to sneak a peak while crews were filming. 

Frank, a restaurant owner, said he still takes customers and friends to the famous house.

"People go there from all over the world," he said. "I've had friends say, 'Hey Frank, do you know where 'The Sopranos' house is? We're coming in, we want to see it!'"

— Teresa Akersten and Jim Leggate contributed to this article. 

Jennifer Tarantino June 20, 2013 at 03:36 AM
I was fortunate to see the house and eat at the diner that was in the finale .. James Gandolfini was a treasure, fine actor and nice Guy .. It's sad we lost him so young at the peak of his career .. He made NJ proud ❤may he RIP and my prayers and condolences go out to his family and children 
Nose Wayne June 20, 2013 at 05:59 PM
I met him several times while filming in Wayne. He was always kind and a true gentlemen when he was filming and always took the time out to have his picture taken with fans. I will always treasure mine with him. RIP TONY, my prayers and condolences go out to his family and his children

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